Here are recommendations on what to do before a storm approaches:
-- Download an application to your smartphone that can notify people where you are, and if you need help or are safe. The Red Cross has a Hurricane App available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. A First Aid app is also available.
-- Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood.
-- Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind.
-- Clear gutters of debris.
-- Reinforce the garage door.
-- Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.
-- Fill a bathtub with water.
-- Get full tank of gas in one car.
-- Go over the evacuation plan with the family, and learn alternate routes to safety.
-- Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter.
-- Put an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding.
-- Evacuate if ordered and stick to marked evacuation routes, if possible.
-- Store important documents -- passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds -- in a watertight container.
-- Have a current inventory of household property.
-- Leave a note to say where you are going.
-- Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.
-- If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for residence.
Here is a list of supplies:
-- A three-day supply of water, one gallon per person per day.
-- Three days of food, with suggested items including: canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.
-- A can opener.
-- A battery-powered radio, preferably a weather radio.
-- Extra batteries.
-- A first aid kit, including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly.
-- A small fire extinguisher.
-- Whistles for each person.
-- A seven-day supply of medications.
-- A multipurpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.
-- Cell phones and chargers.
-- Contact information for the family.
-- A sleeping bag for each person.
-- Extra cash.
-- A silver foil emergency blanket.
-- A map of the area.
-- Baby supplies.
-- Pet supplies.
-- Wet wipes.
-- A camera (to document storm damage).
-- Insect repellent.
-- Rain gear.
-- Tools and supplies for securing your home.
-- Plastic sheeting.
-- Duct tape.
-- Dust masks.
-- An extra set of house keys.
-- An extra set of car keys.
-- An emergency ladder to evacuate the second floor.
-- Household bleach.
-- Paper cups, plates and paper towels.
-- Activities for children.
-- Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.
American Red Cross tips on what to do after the storm arrives:
-- Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
-- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
-- If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
-- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
-- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
-- Stay out of any building that has water around it.
-- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
-- Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
-- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it's not contaminated.
-- Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
-- Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
-- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
-- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Sources: American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Hurricane Center
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