Tropical Storm and Hurricane Preparedness Safety Tips

Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane and conditions are deteriorating, becoming a catastrophic event and major disaster. It is imperative to pay attention to the warnings from the National Weather Service, Governor’s office and local government agencies.  Here is the direct link to the Nation Hurricane Center:  National Hurricane Center

Residents and businesses in Texas and Louisiana must pay close attention to evacuation or shelter in place directions, shifting and changing weather conditions. Texas is the bullseye, but Louisiana residents must heed the warnings as well.  Social media reports in regards to Hurricane Harvey (#HurricaneHarvey) offer update information pertinent to counties and parishes in the path of Hurricane Harvey.  Be prepared for life threatening water event over the next few days for Texas is the warning to take serious.

Hurricane-Harvey-NOAA

Tornado warnings are now up for the Galveston, Texas region, a life threatening 12 feet surge is predicted, and tremendous rainfall amounts over a very large area in the cone could be as much as 15-25 inches for the core Texas coast areas.

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weather.com

Don’t be a hurricane hero, folks.  

Being prepared for the power outages that usually accompany a hurricane, tropical storm or flooding event is crucial.  Here is the direct link to hurricane basics from Ready.gov:  Ready.gov

flood-factsFEMA

Prepare.  Evacuate (if safe to do so).  Survive.

Fill up cars with gas ASAP.   Stock up on the basic essentials for riding out the storm- water, batteries, lanterns, flashlights, weather and regular radios, and non-perishable foods.

Maintain at least 3-7 days of food for each member of the family.  Ready-to-eat canned foods that do not require cooking or refrigeration work best.  We stock up with bread, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, trail mix, individual jello and pudding, granola bars, canned coffee, tea, soft drinks.

Don’t forget the pet foods!

Charge all cell phones and devices now!

devices charges

The safety of you and your family is key, and as long as we are safe I can handle the inconvenience of no power and no A/C.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hate being without air conditioning, but we adapt.

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Thank you to the emergency workers and utilities workers. God bless and keep you safe as you work in less than favorable conditions to restore the power to the many homes and businesses that will surely be affected by Hurricane Harvey.

fallen-tree-on-houseHurricane damage to our next door neighbors house.  The image is blurred, but you get the idea.  A Total loss.

Tornadoes spawned in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac produced a fierce lightening event.  The oak tree in our front yard served as a target for a strike, and the day of tree removal reckoning came sooner than later after the storms left the area.

Social media is a wonderful tool for getting the word out, educating and providing useful and pertinent tips and suggestions for emergency preparation.

Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm, you should take the following measures:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know your surroundings.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  • Make plans to secure your property:
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install a generator for emergencies.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.

During a Hurricane

  • Turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.Turn off propane tanks
  • 1 gallon of water per person, per day
  • Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water for sanitary cleaning and toilet flushing.
  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
  • Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Remember a manual can opener and eating utensils.
  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors. Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Do not use a generator, propane or gas grill, or charcoal barbecue pit indoors. Operate your generator outdoors away from doors, windows and vent openings to avoid the dangerous build up of toxic fumes.  Keep it at least 10 feet from any combustible surface.

After a Hurricane

  • 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 have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
    • FEMA has established the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS), which has been developed to help reunite families who are separated during a disaster. The NEFRLS system will enable displaced individuals the ability to enter personal information into a website database so that they can be located by others during a disaster.
    • The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).  Before you go to a shelter, always check with your local emergency management agency for availability & services.
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed¬ out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • 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.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • REMEMBER TO NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

 Be safe, friends!

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