How to Be #HurricaneStrong for Florence

  1. Minimize Danger – Understand the Power of Rushing Water

According to the National Hurricane Center, storm surge accounts for approximately half the deaths in hurricanes since 1970. The National Weather Service (NWS) tells us that these tragedies happen because people underestimate the force, speed, and power of water. A modest six inches of fast-moving water can knock down an adult, 12 inches can carry away a small car, and 24 inches will move an SUV. That’s why FLASH and NWS created the Turn Around, Don’t Drown program in 2003 with lifesaving reminders. Watch this video to learn more, and remember that where it rains, it can flood.

  1. Know Your Zone – Define Evacuation Needs

One of the most critical steps for survival is to identify whether you reside in a storm surge evacuation zone and to develop a plan for where you will be when the waters rise. Once you have your plan in place, heed all evacuation orders, and do so quickly. Remember, making the right decision to either stay or leave on a timely basis will keep you, your family, and your community’s first responders out of harm’s way. Use this updated list from FLASH to Find Your Evacuation Zone today.

  1. Avoid Regrets – Secure Supplies and Build a Kit

You’ll need to plan for two situations—remaining home or evacuating to a different location. Click here for a comprehensive list of supplies that you will need to stay comfortable and safe.

  1. Act Now – Reduce Home and Contents Damage

You still have time to take some meaningful steps to protect your property the storm. Take the following actions to protect from expected flooding:

  • Clean out gutters and ensure downspouts are clear to allow water to flow away from the home.
  • Prepare and place sandbags using these steps to ensure they don’t topple. (Don’t forget to review safe disposal guidelines.)
  • Elevate, wrap, and move valuable carpets, electronics, and furniture to a higher floor or alternate location.
  • Secure cleanup materials (masks, gloves, mops, buckets, bleach, etc.) before the storm.

Click here for a full list of pre-storm flood mitigation options. If you reside in an area where high winds are expected, click on this link to read or watch a video with hurricane prep steps broken into one-hour, one-day, and one-weekend checklists.

  1. Talk with Your Insurance Agent

Homeowners, renters, and flood insurance policies are the most effective financial recovery tools available for storm victims, but often many realize too late that flood insurance is a separate policy that requires a 30-day waiting period. It’s likely that you won’t be able to add a flood policy or change any of your regular policy coverages if a storm is imminent, but you should still contact your agent or company in advance. Understanding your policy limits, co-pays, deductibles, and where to call with any claims will come in handy if you are affected by the storm. Find out what types of insurance you need in this guide, If Disaster Strikes will You Be Covered? 

Whether you reside along the coast or well inland, planning now and following the above advice can help you any storm heads your way. For more information, visit www.flash.org, email info@flash.org, follow @FederalAlliance on Twitter, follow FLASH on Facebook, or call (877) 221-SAFE (7233).

Protecting Your Home Against Power Outages This Hurricane Season

This post was written by Cummins, Inc., a 2018 sponsor of #HurricaneStrong.

Top forecasters are now predicting a quieter hurricane season with 10 tropical storms, four of which will likely develop into hurricanes. Preparing your home for severe weather is still of the utmost importance as it only takes one storm to change a community forever. Being prepared can help alleviate uncomfortable – or even dangerous – living conditions.

A power outage caused by a natural disaster can affect millions of people for days, sometimes even weeks. Being equipped with a generator means you can quickly restore power to your home. Selecting the right type of generator – portable or standby – is key to ensuring you and your home are ready for power outages.

You must turn on a portable generator manually and keep it filled with gas for the duration of an outage. Depending on the portable generator’s wattage, you may only be able to turn on select appliances at any given time.

In addition, you need to operate the portable in an open area a least 10 to 15 feet from your home to avoid exposure to carbon monoxide. To make sure your portable is ready for power outages, test it several times a year by starting it up and making sure it runs properly.

Consider a portable generator if:

  • You’ve only experienced one or two power outages lasting less than a day
  • You want to power a few necessities like a refrigerator and sump pump
  • You don’t live in an area subject to severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, snow and ice storms or even extreme heat that can cause power outages

A home standby generator, like the Cummins QuietConnect Series, is permanently installed and turns on automatically when the power goes out.

Consider a home standby generator if:

  • You have been through multiple power outages lasting for several days to weeks
  • You want (or need) to power more than a couple of appliances or your entire home
  • You live in an area that regularly gets severe weather
  • You’ve had to leave your home due to a power outage
  • You’ve lost money to food spoilage, hotels costs and flood remediation
  • You travel frequently and can benefit from having a generator turn on automatically even when you are away to keep home security and automation running

Standby generators are available in a variety of sizes. Utilize an online calculator to help understand the correct size for your needs. Contract with a certified local dealer to finalize your generator selection and to ensure your generator is properly and safely installed. While home generators exercise themselves regularly to ensure they’re always ready in the event of a power outage, homeowners should still check for debris around a generator before an impending storm.

For more information on Cummins home standby generators and more weather prep tips, visit http://cummins.com/weatherprep

 

FLASH Partnership Introduces Updated Weather App

“FLASH Weather Alerts” Version 3.0 offers speed, precision, forecasting, preparedness tools, and NOAA weather radio functionality.

In partnership with Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. (WDT), the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), today released the updated FLASH Weather Alerts app V3.0 on the iTunes and Google Play stores. This mobile app delivers precise GPS, precision text-to-speech severe weather alerts, useful “How-To” videos, and bilingual home safety, mitigation, and disaster preparedness information.

“We are proud to partner with WDT, the country’s premier weather data provider, to reintroduce this powerful, easy-to-use app combining technology with real-time severe weather information,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “Often, our smartphones and tablets serve as lifelines in a disaster, so we are offering this app and the speed it delivers to maximize the short window of time available to make life or death decisions in a disaster. The added everyday benefits of reliable weather forecasts make it a must-have.”

The FLASH Weather Alerts app enables the user to receive critical alerts via voice and push notifications. Your phone will “wake up” with alerts and also track your location to warn you wherever you go. Listen to local weather forecasts while on the move. Enjoy the power of a NOAA Weather Radio, with all the convenience and precision of a smartphone.

Features of FLASH Weather Alerts include:

  • ACCURATE ALERTS- Provides the most precise alerts compared to other similar apps on the market
  • COMPLETE CONTROL- Choose only the type of alerts you want to receive
  • FOLLOW ME- Alerts you when a watch/warning is issued in your area
  • MULTIPLE LOCATIONS- Ensure friends & family are safe by saving up to 5 additional locations
  • AUDIO- Hear beeps followed by a brief description of the alert type
  • RADAR- Quickly reference your location to adverse weather using radar with watch and warning overlays
  • QUICK FORECAST- Access current and forecast weather information for remote locations
  • VOICE OVER- Works for the visually impaired
  • MITIGATION RESOURCES- Includes information to make homes stronger and families (available in English and Spanish)
  • CURRENT NEWS- provides event-driven preparedness/mitigation tips as severe events unfold

All app features are included for $4.99 with no additional in-app purchases. If you previously purchased FLASH Weather Alerts, you may download the update for free. For more information, visit flashweatheralerts.org.

Tornado Safety Tips – Before During and After the Storm

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®  offers the following tornado safety tips to help before, during, and after a tornado strikes.

Before

  • Have a family tornado plan and know where you can safely take shelter.
  • Closely monitor NOAA Weather Radio
  • Install a tornado safe room or storm shelter built to FEMA 320 guidelines or the ICC/NSSA 500 standard. Always use a licensed contractor to install a safe room within, adjacent to, or outside of your home.
  • View this video playlist to find out Which Tornado Safe Room is Right for You.

During

  • Take refuge in a tested and approved storm shelter, safe room, or a community shelter labeled as an official tornado shelter. Community shelters may include stores, malls, churches, even airports.
  • If no shelter is available:
    • Are you indoors? Go to the lowest floor, to a small, central, interior room, under a stairwell, or to an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch down as low as possible to the floor, face down, and cover your head with your arms. Cover yourself with a blanket, mattress, helmet, or other thick covering. Wear footwear with thick soles to your safe location.
    • Are you in a mobile home? Get out. Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as a sturdy building. Go to a nearby permanent structure. Do not seek shelter under an overpass, bridge, or in a drainage ditch. If you cannot safely exit your vehicle, park it out of traffic lanes. Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on. Put your head below the windows and protect it with your arms and a blanket, coat, or other cushion.
    • Are you outdoors? Shelter in a sturdy building. If no shelter is available, lie face down on low ground protecting the back of your head with your arms.

After

  • Keep your family together in a safe location and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
  • Stay away from power lines, downed trees, and puddles that could hide live wires.
  • Watch your step to avoid sharp objects.
  • Stay out of heavily damaged structures, as they may collapse.
  • Do not use matches or lighters in case of leaking natural gas or fuel tanks.
  • Listen to your radio for information and instructions.

21 Essential Cold Weather Safety and Power Outage Tips

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) and the Great Winter Weather Prep are offering 21 tips to keep families safe and warm when the power goes out and freezing temperatures arrive.

Foam, Dome & Drip – Affordable Ways to Protect Your Home

For as little as $1 per 6’ of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing during winter and even when the power goes out.

  1. Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts with insulating foam. For as little as $1 per 6’ of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy.
  2. Place an insulating dome or other covering on outdoor faucets and spigots to reduce the likelihood of the water in your pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.
  3. Drip faucets to reduce the build-up of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, you have released the pressure from the water system reducing the likelihood of a rupture. If you are going out of town, and suspect that temperatures will drop or a power outage will occur, turn off the water to your home and open all of the taps to drain the water system. This way you won’t return to a frozen, soggy mess.
  4. Check for air leaks around windows and doors using a lit incense stick. If the smoke is sucked out of an opening, seal the leak with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping.

Keep Your Family Safe & Warm

  1. Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries and a battery-powered radio on hand. Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard.
  2. After the power goes out, make sure to turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.
  3. Resist the temptation to call 911 for information during power outages. Instead use your battery-powered radio for information.
  4. Keep your car fuel tank at least half full as gas stations rely on electricity to operate their pumps and may not have back-up power.
  5. Keep extra cash on hand since an extended power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money from ATMs or banks.
  6. Be a volunteer snow angel. Volunteer to check on elderly neighbors, friends, or relatives who may need assistance during the outage.
  7. Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
  8. If you are using a gas heater or fireplace to stay warm, be sure the area is properly ventilated.
  9. Arrange ahead of time with family, friends, or neighbors for a place to go if you have an extended outage. If you have nowhere to go, head to a designated public shelter. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345)

Food

  1. Keep a supply of non-perishable foods, medicine, baby supplies, and pet food on hand, and have at least one gallon of water per person per day on hand.
  2. Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no more than four hours.

Generators

  1. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.
  2. Follow manufacturer’s instructions such as only connect individual appliances to portable generators.
  3. Don’t plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.
  4. Consider purchasing and installing a standby home generator with an automatic on switch.

When Power Returns

  1. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace. Be sure to install a system of surge protection that consists of point-of-use devices and whole house surge protection.
  2. When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate potential problems caused from sharp increases in demand.

For more information, tips and resources for winter safety visit Flash.org and the Great Winter Weather Prep preparedness campaign.

#NoFuelNoFire – Protect Your Home from Wildfire

As we witness the wildfire devastation in Northern California, we offer these tips on how you can protect your home before a fire strikes your community.

Remove fuels that can lead flames to your home or that can become ignited from windblown embers, including:

  • Dead grass, leaves, etc. (fine fuels) and dead twigs, branches,
  • (coarse fuels) within 30 feet of buildings
  • Dry leaf/pine litter from roofs, rain gutters, decks and walkways
  • Dead and dry litter at the base of plants
  • Tree branches (ladder fuels) within 6-10 feet of the ground
  • Firewood within 30 feet of buildings
  • Continuous beds of combustible vegetation (on the ground or in tree tops) that can bring large flames within 100 feet of your home

Plant species that retain moisture and resist ignition, including:

  • Native, fire-resistant vegetation (check with local forestry agency)
  • Fire prone trees and shrubs away from your home and far enough apart, so they won’t ignite one another

Maintain

  • A lean, clean and green landscape at least 30 feet around buildings
  • A legible and clearly marked street number for emergency responders
  • Storage sheds containing items including lawn mowers, grills/gas cans and tanks away from the home

Install metal screening that blocks embers from entering your buildings, including:

  • Noncombustible 1/8 inch on attic/crawl space vents, and around low decks
  • Noncombustible (metal, etc.) skirting around mobile homes

Identify an emergency water supply within 1,000 feet of your home through one of the following:

  • Community water/hydrant system, and/or
  • Drafting site on a lake
  • Cooperative emergency storage tank with neighbors
  • Swimming pool

If under a wildfire threat; only remove dead leaves or vegetation when local garbage collection services will have time to pick up the debris. Do not burn vegetation without following local requirements.

REMEMBER severe wildfires move fast and embers can be blown more than a mile from the flames, so be ready.

View these videos for more information about wildfire mitigation. Visit www.flash.org to learn more and download If Disaster Strikes Will You Be Covered?, available in (English) and (Spanish).

Strengthen Your Home Before #Tropical Storm Nate – Info from FLASH via Nat’l Hurricane Center Blog

hurricane_strengthenhome_4-4-16FLASH is republishing this National Hurricane Center blog by FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson as it provides an excellent overview of high-performing, #HurricaneStrong homes.

Inside the Eye – Strengthen Your Home

After personal safety, your home’s performance is the most important driver of either swift recovery or long-term disruption. Act now to protect your home and enjoy peace of mind, reduced damage, financial protection, and resilience overall.

As Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the USVI families confront the aftermath of Harvey, Irma and Maria it’s time for everyone in the potential path of Tropical Storm Nate to prepare.