Wednesday, July 2, 2014
With Tropical Storm Arthur currently off the Florida coast and predicted to move north, now is the time to prepare your family and strengthen your home before the store shelves are empty and there is little time to prepare. The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers the following tips for residents to prepare themselves and their homes from severe conditions:
Protect Your Home
1. Check your shutters to make sure they are working properly and fit securely to ensure proper protection.
2. If you do not have shutters, install plywood, emergency shutters. Never use tape on windows as hurricane protection.
3. Secure or relocate items outside the house that can blow around. Don’t forget about trash cans, grills, toys and potted plants. Also, take time to look for any dead tree limbs and remove them carefully if you have time and use the Outdoor Inventory Checklist.
4. Make sure all doors and windows are properly caulked and/or weather-stripped to reduce potential water intrusion.
5. Know if you are in a hurricane evacuation zone and have a plan. Hurricane evacuation boundaries are based on the threat of water, not wind, and nearly all evacuation orders are issued due to threat of inland flooding and storm surge. Before you leave be sure to:
• Turn off the water, gas and electricity
• Leave a note that you have left and where you are going
• Be sure to lock your home
Prepare Your Family
6. Review your family emergency plan. Be sure to review and update any evacuation plans.
7. Ensure your family emergency kit is complete. Your kit should include at a minimum:
• Enough food and water for all members of the family, including pets, for 72 hours
• Extra cash on hand
• A battery powered NOAA weather radio or download the FLASH Weather Alerts App
• First aid kit and toiletries
• Flashlights and extra batteries
• Blankets, pillows, extra clothes and toys and games to keep the family comfortable and occupied
• Special items for babies, family members with special medical needs and pets
8. Fill your gas tank; gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
9. Gather and store important paperwork like insurance papers, mortgage documents, marriage certificates, etc. in waterproof containers, scan copies on a USB drive or take pictures with a smartphone.
If You Lose Power
10. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.
11. Connect only individual appliances to portable generators.
12. Don’t plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.