With hurricane season in full swing, it is vital that you and your family are prepared prior to your area being placed under a Hurricane Watch and/or Warning. As Hurricane Florence approaches the Carolinas bringing predictions of catastrophic damage, many people are scrambling to ensure they are as ready as possible for whatever Mother Nature brings our way. As many Floridians have learned over the years, last minute preparation leads to being unable to find water, fuel, batteries, generators, and other priority hurricane supplies; this is why if you are in a Hurricane Zone it is best to be prepared in advance.
In this blog post, with the help from The American Red Cross we have put together a simple, but significant guide outlining the supplies and plans you need to implement today to keep you and your family as safe as possible during the 2018 Hurricane Season. Remember, even if you are not in a coastal area, hurricanes can bring major flooding, tornadoes, and high winds to inland areas as well!
At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below.
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
- Flashlight Available on the Red Cross Store
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) Available on the Red Cross Store
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit Available on the Red Cross Store
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket Available on the Red Cross Store
- Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Two-way radios
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
- N95 or surgical masks
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra clothing, hat, and sturdy shoes
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Household liquid bleach
- Entertainment items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Generator AND Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Fuel in approved storage containers
Create and practice an emergency plan so your family will know what to do in a crisis.
An Emergency Plan in Just 3 Steps:
- Take pictures of the exterior and interior of your home.
- Take pictures of your vehicles.
- Verify your insurance coverage is up-to-date, premiums are paid, and print out a copy of your policies.
- Gather all important papers (the copies of your insurance policies, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc.) and store them in a sealed bag.
- Ensure your vehicles have a full tank of gas and tires have adequate tire pressure.
- Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
- If you have NFIP flood insurance, your policy may cover up to $1000 in loss avoidance measures, like sandbags and water pumps, to protect your insured property. You should keep copies of all receipts and a record of the time spent performing the work. They should be submitted to your insurance adjuster when you file a claim to be reimbursed. Visit www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/137860 to learn more.
- Keep your cell phone charged with a full battery in case you lose power.
- Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
DURING & AFTER THE STORM:
- If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
- Listen for current emergency information and instructions.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows. We recommend using carbon monoxide detectors when utilizing a generator.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
- Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
- Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.