What can you do to stay prepared for a Hurricane?

The Boy Scouts had it right: “Always be prepared.”  There’s nothing worse than being caught off- guard, especially when it comes to natural disasters.

With the Atlantic Hurricane Season coming up, the National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) has predicted 9-15 named storms- 1-3 of which are predicted to be considered “major.”  Although Southeastern PA isn’t necessarily an area of high Hurricane activity, we have been hit very hard by storms caused by distant hurricanes in the past that have caused some serious damage.ImageImage

An act of nature can be absolutely devastating without the proper precautions and plans set into place.  This is all well and good, but how do you even start preparing for something so potentially dangerous?  When preparing, ask yourself two important questions: “What supplies do I need?” and “What should I do during the storm?”

If a hurricane is predicted in your area, be sure you are stocked up on the following items:

  • Water.  At least a 3-day supply. One gallon per person, per day.
  • Food- At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food.
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications.  At least a 7-day supply.
  • Personal medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane, etc.)
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies.)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies if needed (bottles formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies if needed (Collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Camera for photos of damage.

If a hurricane strikes the area, it is vital that you follow these suggestions to stay safe:

  • Liston to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Check you disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.)
  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters.  If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with ply wood.
  • Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
  • Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank
  • Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan.  Planning and practicing our evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan.  Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
  • Evacuate if advised by authorities.  Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.

In addition to your personal planning, the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania is conducting a Hurricane Readiness Drill on Saturday morning, June 2 at Avon Grove High School, where a Red Cross shelter was located during Hurricane Irene last year.

During the drill, several local agencies, including the Chester County Department of Emergency Services and the Red Cross, will train people critical disaster relief skills, like sheltering, food distribution, providing basic medical needs, and decision making. The training will also include what to do with pets.

We know you just took the time to read all of that. And to help you remember (because you probably don’t want to read it again), here’s a video with an overview of what you should do to plan:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7zu0N-iDT0

Social media will be heavily utilized during a major disaster like a hurricane, people will be able to track what is happening by following @redcrossphilly and #HurricaneDrill on Twitter.  This tool will be incredibly valuable, but we must recognize that the reliability of this service depends completely upon the severity of the event. If this should happen, a short-wave radio is the best way to receive information about what is happening.

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