Much of the East Coast is gripping for what is likely to be an historic and devastating hurricane. With Sandy expected to impact areas not used to such extreme conditions, tens of millions of people will need to act quickly to prepare. Here are some tips for how to get ready for Hurricane Sandy, and what to do during and after the storm.
Put an emergency supply kit together. A full list of recommended and suggested items are available through FEMA:
- Non-perishable food; at least a three day supply.
- Water; 1 gallon per person per day for at least three days is recommended.
- Hand-crank or battery-powered radio to keep up with news and weather reports.
- Extra batteries.
- First aid kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Food and water for any pets or animals.
- Credit cards, ATM cards, cash.
- Copies of important documents. Keep them in a waterproof and portable container.
Create a family emergency plan. If your family is not all in the same place when the hurricane hits, you’ll need a way to get in contact with one another.
Protect your home:
- Cover windows with ply wood or hurricane shutters.
- Bring all outdoor furniture, garbage cans and decorations inside.
- Turn off any utilities as instructed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Reinforce garage doors.
- Retrofit your roof.
- Fill bath tub and large containers with water.
- Solid wood and hollow metal doors will probably withstand the hurricane. If your entry doors aren’t made of these materials, or you’re not quite sure if they are or not, you can secure your door by installing head and foot bolts. Click here for more tips on securing entryways.
- Turn your refrigerator’s thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed if you aren’t required to turn off your utilities.
- Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
- If you’re evacuating your home, unplug any appliances.
Next Page: What to do during and after the storm.
Evacuate. If local authorities direct you to evacuate, follow their instructions. If you live in a mobile home, a temporary structure, or in a high-rise building, you should also evacuate. If you simply don’t feel safe in your home, it’s also best to evacuate.
If you absolutely must stay in your home or you’re unable to evacuate, follow these precautions during the storm:
- Stay inside and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed.
- Stay put in an interior room, a hallway or a closet on the lowest level of your house.
- Lie on the floor under a sturdy object, such as a table.
- Don’t use candles or kerosene lamps. They’re a fire hazard.
- Keep up with news and weather reports.
- Do not assume the storm has passed if there’s a lull — it could be the eye of the storm.
What to do after the storm has passed:
- Check for injuries and administer first aid. FEMA has more detailed tips on how to care for your safety here.
- If you have evacuated, do not return to your home until it is deemed so.
- Beware of any loose or dangling power lines.
- Avoid floodwaters.
- Walk/drive cautiously. Only walk or drive outside if absolutely necessary.
- Only use the telephone if there is a serious emergency.
- Walk cautiously around the outside of your house before entering. Do not enter if you smell gas, if your home was damaged by fire or if you can see floodwaters around the area.
- Do not turn on utilities or use water until you are told it is safe to do so.
For information on what to look for inside your home, click here.