Make A Difference. Help 'A Green Road Blog' Open Minds, Teach, Inspire, Share Ideas, And Expose Hidden Things. Please click here to note associated 'A Green Road' Care2 News Stories.
How To Prepare For A Hurricane
According to Ready.gov, “hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. People who live in hurricane prone communities should know their vulnerability, and what actions should be taken to reduce the effects of these devastating storms. The information on this page can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water.
· Steps you can take to protect your family, property or business
· Recommended Training
· Additional Resources
Step 1: Build A Kit / "To-Go Bag"
"Are You Ready?" Hurricane Widget
Copy and Paste the following code to place the "Are You Ready?" Hurricane Widget on your website.
Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car in case you are told to evacuate.
Step 2: Make A Plan
Prepare your family
Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. You should also consider:
· Evacuation plans
· Family communications
· Utility shut-off and safety
· Safety skills
Prepare Your Business
Businesses have a critical role in preparedness. Putting a disaster plan in motion now will improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover. Ready Business outlines commonsense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready.
Plan to Protect Property
Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the NFIP Web site,www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.
For more detailed information on how you can protect your property, view the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration'sprinter-friendly handout Avoiding Hurricane Damage
In addition to insurance, you can also:
· Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.
· Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
· Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
· Secure your home by closing shutters, and securing outdoor objects or bringing them inside.
· Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
· Turn off propane tanks.
· Install a generator for emergencies
· Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
· Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
· Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting www.FoodSafety.gov.
Step 3: Be Informed
Hurricane hazards come in many forms: lightning, tornadoes, flooding, storm surge,high winds, even landslides or mudslides can be triggered in mountainous regions. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.
· Learn about damaging and potentially deadly hurricane hazards
· What to do during a hurricane
· Get your children involved (kids site)
· People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs
· Care for pets
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
· A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
· A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
Scale Number (Category)
Sustained Winds (MPH)
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage
· Minor damage to exterior of homes
· Toppled tree branches, uprooting of smaller trees
· Extensive damage to power lines, power outages
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage
· Major damage to exterior of homes
· Uprooting of small trees and many roads blocked
· Guaranteed power outages for long periods of time – days to weeks
Devastating damage will occur
· Extensive damage to exterior of homes
· Many trees uprooted and many roads blocked
· Extremely limited availability of water and electricity
Catastrophic damage will occur
· Loss of roof structure and/or some exterior walls
· Most trees uprooted and most power lines down
· Isolated residential due to debris pile up
· Power outages lasting for weeks to months
More than 155
Catastrophic damage will occur
· A high percentage of homes will be destroyed
· Fallen trees and power lines isolate residential areas
· Power outages lasting for weeks to months
· Most areas will be uninhabitable
FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) has developed a training program to encourage community hurricane preparedness. This computer-based course provides basic information about dealing with tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Visit www.training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is324a.asp and select the ‘take this course’ option at the top of the right hand column to take the interactive web-based course.
Federal and National Resources
Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for a hurricane by visiting the following resources:
· Federal Emergency Management Agency
· NOAA Hurricane Center
· American Red Cross
· U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
· U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control
Encourage Electronic Payments for Federal Benefit Recipients
Keep in mind a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. For those who depend on the mail for their Social Security benefits, a difficult situation can become worse if they are evacuated or lose their mail service – as 85,000 check recipients learned after Hurricane Katrina. Switching to electronic payments is one simple, significant way people can protect themselves financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:
· Direct deposit to a checking or savings account is the best option for people with bank accounts. The Direct Express ® prepaid debit card is also available for people who don’t have a bank account. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or at www.GoDirect.org.”
CHECK LIST OF THINGS TO DO
□ Know your evacuation route and get out 2 days BEFORE it hits, in order to avoid long traffic jams and tie ups. Prepare to stay with relatives, friends or hotel/motel at least 30 miles inland and well above the storm surge, which can be up to 12 feet or more.
□ Take in all outdoor stuff in the yard, and put it in the garage. Loose items that are NOT tied down are potential flying debris or missiles that may injure you, your neighbors or your family during the storm.
□ Remove all items on the deck or patio, or in any balconies, including plants, planters, etc. See above.
□ Double check to make sure your home and car insurance is up to date, paid and has enough coverage to provide you with enough to replace your home, or repair for any damage. FEMA is the only place to get hurricane coverage these days.
□ Use screws and a screw gun to put up plywood that is cut to fit for each window. Secure these emergency shutters over all exterior windows and sliding glass doors. Label each piece of wood covering each window with a permanent marker, so you can store and re-use them for future storms. Store them up in the attic after the storm passes.
□ When covering windows, start with the side facing storm, then do opposite side of house, then fill in the other two sides if you have time, energy and money.
□ Secure each piece of plywood with long enough screws, one screw for every foot, as the wind will try to peel this plywood off with gusts of wind.
□ Secure underside of rafters to plywood or other roof covering, starting from outside of house underneath the eaves. Then if you have time, energy and money, move to attic and do the same thing. Gluing the rafters to the roof decking will approximately double the strength of the roof.
□ There are also special tie down metal plates available at building supply stores that connect the rafters to the outside of the walls, helping to strengthen the roof even more and helping to prevent the roof from blowing off, by securing the roof to the walls of the house. If you have time, start with securing the side facing the wind, then move to the opposite side, then to the final two sides.
□ Consider covering the attic vents on the storm side of the house, with same plywood covers, and then move to opposite side of house to repeat the same process. Remove these after the storm passes, to allow moisture in attic to vent out. Leave the other two sides open.
□ Trim trees if you have time. Take all dead limbs off of trees on your property, but especially upwind and downwind. Dead limbs can become spears thrown by the wind.
□ Remember that the hurricane winds switch directions if and when you pass through the eye, so you will get winds from opposite directions during different times of the storm.
□ Harvest all fruit off of all fruit trees. The storm may rip these heavy fruit laden limbs off the trees or it may topple the trees. It may also make them into spears that can go through house walls or windows.
□ Glue rafters to underside of roof panels
□ Clean out gutters and channel all water coming out of gutters well away from walls. A hurricane can dump between 3 to 15 inches of rain in a matter of three days.
□ Check to make sure that all roof vents are well secured with straps or screws. High winds can take off any roof vent covers that are not secured.
□ Keep windows and doors closed. There is an urban myth that if you allow the wind inside the house, it will ‘equalize’ the pressure. This is nonsense. Pressure from the wind outside the house will enter the house and force the weakest part of the house to fail, which often means windows, or the roof. Once one part of the house is destroyed or damaged, the wind will work on taking apart the rest.
□ If you are in a flood prone area or in an area where a 12 foot hurricane surge may reach you, anchor your propane tank. Connect the propane tank with a chain or steel cable to something that is well anchored, like a large tree . Propane tanks will tend to float away during a storm surge or flood.
THINGS NOT TO DO
Do not tape up windows, as it does absolutely nothing but create work for you later, forcing you to scrape the tape off all of your windows.
Do not open any windows or doors during the storm. There is an urban myth that if you allow the wind inside the house, it will ‘equalize’ the pressure. This is nonsense.
Pressure from the wind outside the house will enter the house and force the weakest part of the house to fail, which often means windows, or the roof. Once one part of the house is destroyed or damaged, the wind will work on taking apart the rest.
IF YOU ARE STAYING IN AN AREA AFFECTED BY STORM
□ Expect to be without any help, assistance, or evacuation means for at least two weeks, AFTER the storm. The average time for help to arrive after a major disaster, is at least one week, and often two weeks. Make sure that you are self sufficient for at least this long. Count on having no power, no water, no telephone, and possibly no gas.
□ Clean and rinse your bathtub(s). Then use a secure rubber stopper that does not leak (at all) to seal the drain. Fill the bathtub(s). Either buy or have a clean pail nearby. The tubs can be used either for an emergency water supply, or to flush the toilet. The water supply may be turned off, damaged and may quit working, so whatever you can do to store water ahead of time will help. If you have outside rain barrels, make sure they are cleaned out and secured from wind, as they will be filled with rainwater very quickly from the hurricane.
□ If you have any five gallon water containers for camping, fill those with tap water.
□ Stock up on 1-2 weeks worth of non perishable food
□ Make sure you have a good, high quality manual can opener, and sharp knife.
□ Stock up on 1 weeks work of fuel to cook, if you do not have a gas cook stove
□ Batteries for flashlights, reading lights, as power may go out for weeks
□ Candles for light source and matches
□ ¼ inch nylon or equivalent rope, at least 50 feet
□ Stock up on firewood, if you have a fireplace or wood stove. This may be your only heat source, and/or cooking heat.
Spanish speaking version of above