Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricane Season Is Here

With Hurricane Isaac off the Gulf Coast, we start to think about what we here in the Carolina's need to do to be prepared in case a hurricane or other extreme weather were to threaten us.

First, you should know the difference between a weather "Watch" and "Warning".  A Watch means conditions are threatening and probability is higher that bad weather could happen. When Watch is issued, review your safety plans, keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued.  A Warning means conditions are expected and will happen. When a Warning is issued, complete your storm preparations, do as the authorities instruct you, and leave the area if directed to do so.

Here are a some things to know and do to be prepared:

  • Know your evacuation routes and locate your local emergency shelters.
  • Don't get caught by surprise. There is not enough time to think of everything you need to do when a hurricane or bad weather approaches.
  • Put fuel in all vehicles and withdraw some cash from the bank. Gas stations and banks may be closed after a hurricane or bad weather.

  • Keep a photo I.D. that shows your home address. This may become important when asking a police officer or National Guard member for permission to re-enter your neighborhood.
  • There is never enough time to get ready for nature's fiercest weather. Give yourself and your family a head start.

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day

  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAAWeather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)

  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of  address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information

  • Emergency blanket

  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys

  • What to do when a hurricane threatens...
    • Listen to a NOAAWeather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS) regularly.
    • Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed.
    • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
    • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
    • Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
    • Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
    • Fill your car’s gas tank.
    • Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan.  Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
    • Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be
      cared for.
    • Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
    • Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other
      conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at

    What to do after a hurricane...
    • Continue listening to a NOAAWeather 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, fire risk as extremely high!
    • 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.

    Let Your Family Know You’re Safe
    If your community has experienced a hurricane, or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site: If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.
     This information is provided by the American Red Cross.

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