Hurricane Safety Guide

What To Do When A Watch Is Issued

Outside Your Home

  • Locate storm shutters, boards, garage door supports and any hardware or tools necessary for installation.
  • Do not prune trees. Trash collection will be delayed and loose branches may become dangerous.
  • Fill all of your vehicles with fuel. Park your vehicle in the garage or pull it up as close as possible to the side of the home.
  • Locate water, gas, and electric shut-offs. You should shut them off if you evacuate.

Inside Your Home

  • Go over your family plan.
  • Check your hurricane supply list.
  • Check medical supplies and prescription medicines, at least a two-week supply. Check first aid kit.
  • Make sure all battery-operated TVs radios, flashlights, and lanterns are in working order with spare batteries.
  • Make sure you have enough cash on hand.
  • Make sure everyone knows where the fire extinguisher is located.

What To Do When A Warning Is Issued

Outside Your Home

  • Begin installing storm shutters or plywood and door braces. All window openings need to be covered and all doors must withstand hurricane-force winds (including garage door).
  • Unplug your TV before attempting to lower an outdoor antenna. Take great care not to allow the antenna anywhere near an electrical line.
  • Drain in-ground pools approximately one foot to allow for heavy rains. Super-chlorinate to avoid contamination. Disconnect electrical pumps.
  • Bring in any outdoor objects that could be blown away.
  • Disconnect propane gas tanks and turn off the main gas line.

Inside Your Home

  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings.
  • Make sure you have at least three gallons of water per person on hand.
  • Clean a bathtub using bleach, rinse thoroughly, and let dry. Seal the drain with caulk and fill the tub. This water is to be used for bathing and sanitary purposes only, not for drinking.
  • Prepare your “safe room.” Stock it with a battery-powered TV and/or radio with spare batteries, sleeping bags and pillows, chairs, snacks, and drinking water. Have a mattress nearby in case your home suffers structural damage.
  • Place valuables and personal papers in waterproof containers. If you are evacuating, you may be required to provide proof of residency before being allowed to return to an evacuation area after a storm.
  • Close all windows.
  • Put as many loose objects as possible in drawers.
  • Call your out-of-town contact and tell them where you will be during the hurricane.
  • Do not stay in a mobile home.

What To Do During The Storm

  • Stay informed by listening to the radio or by watching by watching the news. Stay indoors, away from windows.
  • Consider turning off circuit breakers before the power goes off.
  • Once you get into your safe room, stay there even if you hear breaking glass.
  • If your house begins to break apart, cover yourself with the mattress and pillows. If your safe room is a bathroom, get into the bathtub and cover yourself with the mattress.
  • Stay tuned to local television. Do not leave your safe room until you hear an official “all is clear.” If the wind dies down, you may be in the eye of the storm. Winds may resume at any time and may be stronger than before.
  • Use the phone for urgent calls only.
  • Rochkind Insurance strongly recommends that you evacuate when told to do so.

What To Do After The Storm

  • Locate the fire extinguisher before attempting to turn the power back on.
  • Stay away from all downed power lines.
  • Do not dial 911 unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
  • Do not report individual power, water, gas, or phone problems. Utility companies will restore service as quickly as possible.
  • Do not drink tap water until you hear from officials that it is safe.
  • Do not pile debris near power poles.
  • When possible, call your out-of-town contact and tell them you are all right.
  • Avoid driving.
  • Use caution in approaching someone else’s property; you could be mistaken for a looter.

What Should I Do Before Hurricane Season Starts?

  • Plan an evacuation route.
  • Contact the local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter, and ask for the community hurricane preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest evacuation routes and nearby shelters.
  • Learn safe routes inland.
  • Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place.
  • Have disaster supplies on hand.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Make arrangements for pets.
  • Pets may not be allowed into emergency shelters for health and space reasons.
  • Contact your local humane society for information on local animal shelters.
  • Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a hurricane.
  • Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.

Protect your windows.

  • Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood – marine plywood is best – cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window.
  • Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm.
  • Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
  • Check into flood insurance.
  • You can find out about the National Flood Insurance Program through Rochkind Insurance. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective unless the flood insurance is required by a mortgage lender.
  • Homeowners polices do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.
  • Develop an emergency communication plan.
  • In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
  • What Should I Do During a Hurricane Watch?

    (A Hurricane Watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.)

    • Watch the news, refresh local news websites, or listen to a battery-operated radio for hurricane progress reports.
    • Check emergency supplies.
    • Fuel your car.
    • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
    • Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows.
    • Remove outside antennas.
    • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings.
    • Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.

    • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and cooking utensils.
    • Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
    • Review your evacuation plan.
    • Moor your boat securely or move it to a designated safe place.
    • Use rope or chain to secure your boat to its trailer.
    • Use tiedowns to anchor the trailer to the ground or house.

    DURING A HURRICANE WARNING

    What Should I Do During A Hurricane Warning?

    • A Hurricane Warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.
    • Watch local news or refresh local news websites for continuous coverage and for official instructions.
    • If in a mobile home, check tiedowns and evacuate immediately.
    • Avoid elevators.

    If at home:

    • Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
    • Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
    • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored.

    If officials indicate evacuation is necessary:

    • Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
    • Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
    • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
    • If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or better yet, move it to a higher floor.
    • Take pre-assembled emergency supplies, warm protective clothing, blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.
    • Lock up home and leave.

    EVACUATION TIPS

    Your needs and those of your family should be the primary factors considered when determining the timing of your evacuation. Do not delay your departure in anticipation of the opening of any hurricane or contraflow lanes.

    Everyone should prepare a plan for evacuation will in advance of any storm.

    The following steps are recommended before the storm:

    • Assemble your disaster supplies kit with items such as flashlights, cell phones, extra batteries, battery chargers, portable radio, first aid kit, emergency water and food, medical supplies and equipment, manual can opener, highway map, important documents such as insurance and medical information etc.
    • Secure your home against disaster to help reduce damages. Cover windows with shielding materials. Secure or put up any loose objects from around your home.
    • Make provisions for pets – www.letsgopets.com is a online reservation system for hotels that are pet friendly.
    • Know your area’s evacuation plan/routes before you leave home.
    • Fill your vehicle with gas as early as possible. Take only the vehicle necessary to transport you and your family to safety. Extra vehicles create congestion.
    • Bring extra cash in the event that banks are closed and ATM machines are inoperable.
    • Notify family and friends (especially those out of the area) of your plan and your destination.
    • Develop an emergency plan in case family member are separated from one another, e.g., instruct all evacuating family members on the name and contact information of your designated out-of-area friend and family.
    • Ensure children know how and when to call 911.
    • Evacuate, traveling safely to you destination.
    • Expect travel times to destinations to be significantly longer than normal.

    While on the road:

    Fender-Bender?

    • State law requires motorists to move fender-bender accidents out of the travel lanes to the shoulder of the road. To keep all travel lanes and shoulders clear, however, all disabled vehicles on the shoulder will be relocated to the next exit ramp where further assistance may be available.

    AFTER THE STORM

    What Should I Do After The Storm?

    You should take these steps after the hurricane has passed:

    • Out-of-town evacuees should check local news websites frequently for the latest information. Those still in the area should local news or visit local news websites for the latest information.
    • Help injured or trapped persons.
    • Give first aid where appropriate.
    • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
    • Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
    • Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police, or fire department.
    • Enter your home with caution. Beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
    • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
    • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
    • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.
    • Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
    • Use telephone only for emergency calls.

    INSPECTING UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME:

    • Check for gas leaks–If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
    • Look for electrical system damage–If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water lines damage–If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

    HURRICANE SURVIVAL KIT

    Hurricane Kit – List of Survival Materials

    If you are planning to evacuate, be sure to take at least the items marked with an asterisk (*).

    Food/Water:*

    Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day) for 14 days*

    Manual can opener*

    Non-perishable foods:*

    • Canned meat, fish, fruit and vegetables
    • Bread in moisture-proof packaging
    • Cookies, candy, dried fruit
    • Canned soups & milk
    • Powdered or single serve drinks
    • Cereal bars
    • Package condiments
    • Peanut butter and jelly
    • Instant coffee and tea

    Supplies:

    • Flashlight (1 per person)*
    • Portable battery powered lanterns
    • Glass enclosed candles (not for use in shelters)
    • Battery powered radio or TV
    • Battery operated alarm clock
    • Extra batteries, including hearing aids*
    • Ice chest and ice
    • First Aid Kit, including aspirin, antibiotic cream, and antacids*
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Sun Screen (45 SPF recommended)
    • Waterproof matches/butane lighter (not for use in shelters)
    • Money*
    • Plain bleach or water purification tablets*
    • Disposable plates, glasses, and utensils*
    • Maps of the area with landmarks on it*

    Cooking:

    • Sterno
    • portable camp stove or grill
    • disposable eating utensils, plates and cups
    • napkins and paper towels
    • aluminum foil
    • oven mitts

    Personal Supplies:*

    • prescriptions (1 month supply)
    • photo copies of prescriptions
    • toilet paper
    • entertainment: books, magazines, card games, etc.
    • soap and detergent

    Toiletries

    • bedding: pillows, sleeping bags
    • changes of clothing
    • rain ponchos and work gloves
    • extra glasses or contact lenses (and don’t forget the solutions needed for the contact lenses)

    Baby Needs:*

    • Disposable diapers*
    • formula, food and medication
    • clothing and blankets

    Documents:*

    • insurance papers: home/renters, automobile
    • proof of occupancy of residence (utility bills)
    • photo identification
    • photo copies of prescriptions (medications and eyeglasses/contacts)
    • medical history information
    • waterproof container for document storage
    • back-up disks of your home computer files
    • camera and film to document damage to home/belongings

    Pet supplies: (remember – shelters do NOT allow pets – plan to board them with a veterinarian or local humane society)

    • dry and canned food for two weeks
    • water (1/2 gallon per day per pet)
    • litter box supplies
    • traveling cage

    Other necessities:

    • tools: hammer, wrenches, screw drivers, nails, saw
    • trash bags (lots of them)
    • cleaning supplies
    • plastic drop cloth
    • mosquito netting
    • ABC rated fire extinguisher
    • masking or duct tape
    • outdoor-rated extension cords
    • spray paint to identify your home if necessary
    • one of your home phones (many people lost theirs during Hurricane Andrew, even though their phone service still worked)

    WHAT YOU NEED BEFORE A STORM

    • Drinking water (3 gallons per person)
    • Battery-operated TV/radio
    • Spare batteries
    • Manual can opener
    • Flashlights
    • Waterproof matches
    • Toilet paper
    • Diapers
    • Wipes
    • Formula
    • First aid kit
    • Books, magazines, toys
    • Cash (ATMs may not work)
    • Plastic sheeting
    • Nails
    • Rope
    • Lumber
    • Tools
    • Cellular telephone
    • Plastic garbage bags
    • Insect spray
    • Rain gear
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Fuel for generators/vehicles
    • Ice chest
    • Soap
    • Sunscreen
    • Prescription medication
    • Disinfectant
    • Bleach for sterilization (unscented with hypochlorite as the only active ingredient)
    • Tincture of iodine or water purification tablets
    • Propane gas (for grills)
    • Charcoal and lighter fluid
    • Canned meats (tuna, ham, Spam, etc.)
    • Crackers
    • Cookies
    • Self-packaged juices
    • Peanut butter
    • Pudding
    • Powdered or evaporated milk
    • Paper plates, cups
    • Plastic utensils
    • Pet food

    FAMILY DISASTER PLAN

    1. Waterproof all of your valuables. Use sealed plastic bags.
    2. Take pictures or better, video tape the inside and outside of your house. Store in a safe dry place or take with you if you evacuate.
    3. Know your home’s vulnerability to a storm surge, flooding, and wind.
    4. Locate a safe room in your home for a hurricane hazard.
    5. Determine escape (evacuation) routes from your home and places to meet inland away from the storm.
    6. Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
    7. Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
    8. Check your insurance coverage. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
    9. Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
    10. Finally take First Aid, CPR, and/or disaster preparedness classes

    PREPARING FOR YOUR PET’S SAFETY

    Your pet needs to be part of your hurricane family plan of action. If evacuating, keep in mind that most shelters, motels, and hotels will not allow pets. Here are some important items to help you prepare:

  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and have proof they are up to date.
  • Be sure to have a current photo of your pet.
  • Each pet should have a carrier that is large enough for the animal to stand up and turn around.
  • Make sure your pet has the proper ID collar.
  • Pack enough food and bottled water for the duration of your evacuation as you should not allow your pet to eat food or drink water from an outside source which may be contaminated.
  • Finally, be sure to pack any medications your pet may need along with a leash, collar, muzzle, paper towels, and trash bags.
  • KEEPING FOOD SAFE

    Steps to follow to prepare for a possible weather emergency:

    • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.
    • Make sure the freezer is at or below 0° F and the refrigerator is at or below 40° F.
    • Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers after the power is out.
    • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately – this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
    • Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
    • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
    • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
    • Group food together in the freezer – this helps the food stay cold longer.

    Steps to follow after the weather emergency:

    • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
    • The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed.)
    • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below.
    • Never taste a food to determine its safety!
    • Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
    • If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below, the food is safe.
    • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
    • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.
    • Drink only bottled water if flooding has occurred.
    • Discard all food that came in contact with flood waters, including canned goods. Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
    • Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.

    When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

    Information about USDA’s food safety efforts can be accessed on the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. Consumers can ask safe food handling questions by logging on to FSIS’ online automated response system called ‘Ask Karen’ on the FSIS website. E-mail inquiries can be directed to mphotline.fsis@usda.gov. The Hotline is staffed by food safety experts weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Food safety recordings can be heard 24 hours a day using a touch-tone phone.

    Information about USDA’s food safety efforts can be accessed on the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. Consumers can ask safe food handling questions by logging on to FSIS’ online automated response system called ‘Ask Karen’ on the FSIS website. E-mail inquiries can be directed to mphotline.fsis@usda.gov. The Hotline is staffed by food safety experts weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Food safety recordings can be heard 24 hours a day using a touch-tone phone.

    Borrowed from http://www.kristv.com/pages/what-to-do-when/