Are you prepared for a Hurricane?

In light of Hurricane Harvey devastating Texas and Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia all poised to come ashore in the next few days, the information in this article is particularly relevant and worthy of a second look.

While our area is not presently in the direct path of these hurricanes, it is worthwhile to know what the recommended supplies to have on hand are – just in case.

Hurricane Season is here.  Are you prepared for a hurricane or major storm with a significant power outage? Here are some facts and tips to get through a hurricane or significant storm.

A hurricane can be up to 600 miles wide and include storm surges, floods and  extremely high winds that spiral in an inward and upward motion of 75 – 200 mph.

Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th.  In the New Jersey and New York areas hurricanes are most likely to strike in August through late October.

What is a Hurricane Watch vs. Warning?

Hurricane Watches are when conditions are favorable within 36 hours of the watch issue.  Hurricane Warnings are when conditions are expected within the next 24 hours. In coastal areas, the hurricane warning can remain in effect after the actual hurricane has passed due to the probability of more high winds, storm surges, flooding, tornadoes and/or rip currents (all by-products of a hurricane).

The best way to survive a hurricane or significant storm with the smallest amount of personal drama is to PLAN AHEAD.

  • If told to evacuate – listen to the local officials and evacuate
  • Fill vehicle gas tanks prior to the storm because gas pumps require power and may be damaged after the storm
  • Keep cash with you. ATM and credit card machines need power to operate
  • Bring outside items (patio furniture, plants, wind chimes, etc.) inside to a secure area
  • Secure windows and doors with shutters and locks and close chimney flues
  • Stay away from doors and windows in case of glass breakage
  • Stay inside and beware of the eye of the storm.  The eye is the “quiet” before the backside of the storm arrives (sometimes with little to no warning)
  • Charge all cellphones and electronic equipment.  Remember texting uses less battery power than talking.
  • Plug in a land line if possible
  • Turn air conditioning and refrigerators lower to stay cooler longer.  Minimize opening doors to preserve coolness inside.
  • Pack coolers with ice and drinks so the refrigerator does not need to be opened as much
  • Pack freezer with extra ice to keep it cooler for a longer amount of time
  • If the power goes out, turn off/unplug appliances to help the “surge” when it comes back on
  • Use flashlights instead of candles – reducing the risk of fire
  • Have a known and previously practiced Evacuation Plan in place
  • Have grills and properly stored propane ready for cooking if needed.

Evacuation Plan

  • Pick a rendezvous place outside of the evacuation area that everyone in the household knows to go to
  • Have an out of state (or at least out of the hurricane area) contact everyone can check in with
  • Make copies of important documents like insurance papers, household contents lists, driver’s license and passports, birth certificates and  social security cards. Store in a waterproof container with the Emergency Kit.
  • Emergency Kit as stocked below

Have a well stocked Emergency Kit

These are some of the most basic things needed for and emergency kit.

  • 1 Gallon of Water per person for each of 3 days
  • Non-perishable food (especially people with special dietary needs) for each of 3 days
  • Battery powered or crank flashlight for each person in your household
  • Battery powered or crank radio, preferably with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) capabilities
  • Extra batteries for flashlights and radios as necessary
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • First Aid kit
  • Personal hygiene items (toilet paper, women’s hygiene, shaving supplies etc.)
  • Emergency blanket
  • Area maps in case cell phones/satellites are not working
  • Medications and glasses or contacts – to be added when evacuation is eminent

Also bring, or keep with you, during evacuation or a significant storm with a power outage

  • Medication (preferably 1 week’s worth because the pharmacy’s power could be out for a few days)
  • Special access peripherals (wheelchair, cane, crutches, etc)
  • Sturdy shoes and multiple clothing changes
  • Baby needs including formula, diapers and wipes as well as that special blanket and binky
  • Pet needs

Hurricane evacuation and preparedness plans/kits vary by the authority presenting them. Take all recommendations as a guide and personalize your particular kit as it applies specifically to you.

An informative and printable copy of an evacuation plan and preparedness guide, from Monmouth County, New Jersey, is available by clicking here.

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