With Hurricane Sandy only a couple days away now is the time to prepare your home, family and yourself. Here are some preparedness tips to get you started with both Hurricane Sandy as well as other future disasters:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
Building an emergency kit and family communications plan is probably one of the most critical steps to preparing for a disaster. Your emergency kit will make sure you are prepared to survive for most types of disaster and the results of it for at least a couple of days. A family communications plan will make sure you and your family knows how to communicate after a disaster. Information on building an emergency kit and making a family communications plan can be found on www.ready.gov.
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
Information is power especially during a disaster. By listening to your radio or TV you can gain valuable information about the disaster, how your area is preparing, recovering and other critical information making you much better prepared.
- Learn community evacuation routes and shelters in your area.
There are many reasons you may need to evacuate your location after a disaster but do you know where to go or how to get there? If you live in flood prone areas you probably have evacuation routes but other areas may not. To find out contact your local government. There is always the chance that your location may become inhabitable due to flooding, power outages, etc. Make sure you know where there are at least 3 shelters closest to you. You can find a listing of shelters in your area from your local government or The American Red Cross.
- If you are in a high rise building make plans to go below the 10th floor.
The higher the floor you are on the more effects from the wind you will get. This could lead to a dangerous situation. Make plans to stay below the 10th floor.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
This is one of the most important steps to do before any disaster where there will be high winds. The items leave out can very easily become projectiles affecting your home and vehicles as well as others. They could even seriously injure or kill someone.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
Clearing the loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts can save you a lot of heartache. Clogged drains and downspouts can lead to unnecessary damage to your home. Be sure to clean your gutters and downspouts at the end of every season.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage.
Dead or rotting trees and branches are very dangerous during a disaster especially one with high winds and/or winter storms that cause weight on them. This could lead to damage to your and others property, damage power or other utility lines, or block roads or other passages that could affect emergency services. If you see a dead or rotting tree or branch be sure to take care of it or contact someone that can.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
Windows can easily be blown out by wind, flying debris, falling trees or branches, etc. Shutters are great ways of protecting your windows from damage but if you don’t have them close your window blinds, shades or curtains. This can provide some barrier between you and the outside. Don’t believe the old myth of taping up your windows at it does not provide you any real protection.
- Make sure you know where to shut off the electric, gas, and other utilities.
In the middle of the disaster you smell gas. Do you know where to turn it off? Many people don’t. Be sure you know where to shut off the electric, gas and other utilities and that you have the proper tools to do so.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
Disasters can cause an imbalance in the power supply causing power outages, power surges and other electrical issues. A power surge could easily damage or destroy your computer, TV, and you’re other appliances. Don’t depend on your surge protector during a storm no matter how good they are unless you want to take the chance of damaging your electronics.
For the past 10+ years Jonathan Halloran-Koren has dedicated himself as a professional in the disaster recovery, emergency management, intelligence, privacy and security fields in various professional, academic, and volunteer positions. He is currently the Managing Director of United Global Risk Associates, Inc.