As the northeast deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and all eyes are on Tropical Storm Katia, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH®) recommends everyone at risk for hurricanes and floods consider the following tips to prepare now for what the remainder of hurricane season may bring:
- Make a plan for what your family will do if you have to evacuate from your home. Know your evacuation routes, plan for your pets and be sure to review your insurance coverage including flood insurance.
- Ensure your family has an emergency kit that will sustain each member for at least 72 hours after a storm has passed. Following Hurricane Irene, many families in Vermont found themselves cut off from necessary services. That’s why it’s important that your emergency kit include non-perishable food, water, medication, a first-aid kit, a weather radio and other supplies necessary to the basic survival and comfort of you and your family during a storm.
- Prepare your home for hurricane-force winds and rain. Visit www.flash.org and perform a Do-it-Yourself wind inspection to find out what repairs or enhancements your home requires in order to be storm-ready. Take the time now to make any fixes that you’ve identified using the Protect Your Home in a FLASH resource guide.
“It’s important that families remain diligent about their hurricane season plans and preparations,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO of FLASH. “We are only just now entering the most active period of hurricane season. We all need to make sure we are prepared as there is a long way to go before the season ends.”
Learn even more about proven hurricane preparedness tools such as family plans, hurricane emergency kits, and tips for making structurally stronger homes by visiting the 2011 Great Hurricane Blowout (Blowout) on Facebook. “Like” the Blowout and become eligible for weekly Home Depot gift card giveaways and enter the Kohler Home Generator Sweepstakes. More details on Blowout events and other campaign components in the coming days and weeks can be found at www.greathurricaneblowout.org. Also, follow the Blowout on Twitter (@ghblowout).
As power outages continue to have wide-ranging impacts on hundreds of thousands of people in areas affected by Hurricane Irene, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH®) offers consumers these important safety tips:
- Keep extra cash on hand since an extended power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money from an automatic teller machines or banks.
- Turn off any electrical equipment that was in use prior to the power outage.
- Turn off all lights but one (to alert you when power resumes).
- Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries, and a battery-powered radio on hand. Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard.
- Resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for information. That’s what your battery-powered radio is for.
- Keep a supply of non-perishable foods, medicine, baby supplies and pet food as appropriate on hand. Allow one gallon of water per person per day.
- Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no more than 4-6 hours.
- Items in a full freezer will stay frozen for about two days with the door kept closed; in a half-full freezer for about one day.
- Have one or more coolers for cold food storage in case power outage is prolonged.
- It’s important to be aware that food that has not been refrigerated can cause severe health problems. Remember:
- Discard perishable foods that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.
- Discard any food with an unusual odor, color or texture.
- Best rule to follow: “When in doubt, throw it out.”
- Have an emergency power supply for anyone dependent on medical equipment requiring electricity.
- Connect only individual appliances to portable generators.
- Never plug an emergency generator into wall outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system. They can feed electricity back into the power lines putting you and line workers in danger.
- Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated outdoor areas.
- When driving, be careful at intersections. Traffic lights may be out creating a dangerous situation.
- Check on elderly neighbors, friends or relatives who may need assistance if weather is severe during the outage.
- Keep your car fuel tank at least half-full (gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps).
- When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a sharp increase in demand.