Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness

In our book "Just In Case" Kathy Harrison addresses ways to prepare in the event of a hurricane. As we all watch the weather forecast for the most recent Irene updates, there are a few things we should keep in mind:

Before hurricane season arrives:
  • Establish a safe room on the ground floor of the house in a room with as few windows and exterior wall space as possible, with supplies for at least 24 hours.
  • Remove damaged limbs from trees and shrubs on your property, and don't leave debris lying around. It could be a hazard in high winds.
  • Store drinking water, non-perishable food, batteries, matches, and candles, (and don't forget pet food)
  • Review your insurance paperwork to see if you have flood insurance.
  • Keep your car in excellent condition and equipped with emergency supplies.
If a hurricane watch is issued:
  • Protect your windows with storm windows, storm shutters, or if you don't have either you can board up your windows with plywood.
  • Make a plan for evacuation, fill your car with gas and emergency supplies, and keep your keys in your pocket for the easiest evacuation.
  • Clean rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Turn your refrigerator to the coldest temp possible, (so it gets as cold as possible before the power goes out), and eat any perishable food.
  • Store as much drinking water as possible. Fill sinks and bathtubs if you don't think you have enough drinking water on hand.
  • Tune a radio or TV to the local news channel to hear storm updates.
  • If you are considering evacuation, do it now, well in advance of an emergency order, when the roads are less congested.
If a hurricane warning is issued:
  • Close shutters or board up windows. Move all outdoor loose items and equipment indorrs. These include birdbaths, birdhouses, hanging plants, awnings, toys, and outdoor furniture.
  • Turn off utilities if authorities instruct you to do so.
  • Avoid using the phone except for serious emergencies.
  • Let family members know where you will go if you have to evacuate. If you expect a storm surge, take important documents and possessions to the highest point in the house.
Evacuate if:
  • The authorities direct you to do so.
  • You are uncomfortable remaining at home.
  • You live on the coast, near a river, or on a inland waterway.
  • You live in a mobile home, RV, or shoreline shelter.
  • You live in a high-rise building.
  • You or a family member has a special need that puts you at a greater risk if the power should go out.
If you do not evacuate:
  • Stay indoors. A hurricane is not a spectator sport.
  • Close all interior doors. Secure external doors.
  • Take refuge in an interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level of your home or in your safe room. If you do not have a safe-room, get on the floor under a table or heavy piece of furniture..
  • Stay inside even if the winds die down, because you could be in the eye of the hurricane, and if so, the winds will pick up again.
Alee Marsh, Senior Publicist Adapted from Just In Case (c) by Kathy Harrison

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