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Hurricane Preparedness

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As we rapidly approach the anniversary of the Hurricane Harvey disaster, hurricane preparedness is sure to be on the minds of those living in susceptible areas. To help you develop a thorough hurricane emergency plan, we at NAMI GC have compiled a list of tips, checklists, and resources. Remember, being prepared for a natural disaster could quite literally save your life or the life of a family member.

Planning Ahead:

  • Identify people to help you before, during, and after a disaster, such as family, friends, neighbors, and caregivers. Ensure they know your needs and the needs of anyone in your household, particularly if there are any babies, elderly persons, or persons with special needs
  • Create an emergency contact list that you can take with you if you must evacuate
  • Stockpile emergency supplies (see below)
  • Create a safe room in your house for in-home sheltering
  • Plan for sheltering your pets. Since most shelters do not accept pets, it is important that you plan for your furry friend’s safety beforehand. You can check with local veterinarians and boarding programs ahead of time to see if they are able to board your animal (this will require an up-to-date immunization record), If you find yourself unable to pursue other arrangements and are forced to go to a shelter, leave your pet substantial amounts of food and water in easily accessible containers before you leave home. Consider also providing them with blankets, a crate, and other sources of comfort. Lastly, ensure they are wearing their dog tags on a nylon or vinyl collar in case they escape your home due to it being damaged.
  • Think of alternate means of contacting family, friends, or others if telephones and power are disrupted
  • Have an evacuation route pre-planned, along with alternate routes
  • If you know ahead of time that you would not be able to evacuate in the case of an emergency, dial 2-1-1 now. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is able to put you on a list to be picked up should your area undergo mandatory evacuation.
  • Review, drill, update, and test emergency plans every 6 months

What to do as the storm approaches:

  • Monitor storm’s movement and severity via a local news source or NOAA Weather Radio
  • Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8-inch plywood
  • Clear gutters of debris
  • Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off
  • Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator
  • Fill a bathtub with water
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system
  • Install check valves in plumbing to prevent back ups
  • Get a full tank of gas in one car
  • Carefully plan for children, elderly individuals, and persons with special needs
  • Go over the evacuation plan with the family, and learn alternate routes to safety
  • Store important documents –passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates in a watertight container
  • Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter
  • Have a current inventory of household property
  • Put an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding
  • Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave
  • If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for the residence

Supplies (in the event of evacuation or power outage):

  • A three-day supply of water, one gallon per person per day
  • A three-day supply of non-perishable food that meets the dietary needs of your household
  • Can-opener
  • Paper cups, plates, silverware, and napkins
  • A seven-day supply of any necessary medications
  • A three-day supply of clothing for each member of your household
  • Toiletries (such as toothbrushes, shampoo, tampons, etc.)
  • Assistive technology (such as a wheelchair or hearing aids)
  • Chargers for electronic devices
  • Supplies for children, such as diapers, baby formula, and baby food
  • Pet supplies (pet food, leashes, collars, etc.)
  • Flashlight(s)
  • Battery powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Emergency candles/matches (outdoor use only); glowstick for inside use
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Sleeping bags (one per person)
  • Insect repellant
  • Duct tape
  • Extra car and house keys
  • Multipurpose tool
  • First aid kit–latex gloves, band aids, soap, antibiotic ointment, sterile dressing, thermometer, Aspirin/pain reliever, petroleum jelly, etc.
  • Whistles for each person
  • Silver foil emergency blanket
  • Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.
  • An emergency ladder
  • Extra cash
  • Important documents such as photo ID, credit cards, check book, ATM card, medical insurance card, etc.
  • Emergency contact list
  • Generator
  • Disinfectant
  • Books, board games, and other non-electric forms of entertainment

What to do after the storm arrives:

  • 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.
  • Use the Facebook Safety Check to let family and friends know you’re safe.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Use generators with caution

TIPS TO REMEMBER:

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown –  In the event that you need to evacuate remember to NEVER attempt to drive through high waters. You could be risking your life and/or the lives of your family members. Find a safe, alternate route or proceed to an emergency shelter.
  • Possessions can be replaced. Lives cannot. Don’t slow down your evacuation plan by trying to load up all of your belongings.

Helpful Numbers:

  • 2-1-1: calls are taken by trained specialists ready to connect you with a plethora of services to meet your needs
  • Office of Emergency Management: provides emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation coordination
    • Galveston: 832-384-2000
    • Brazoria: 979-864-1201

 

 

Sources: 

https://www.cnn.com/2012/08/27/us/hurricane-preparation/index.html

http://www.nwclimate.org/severe-weather/hurricane-preparation-guide/pets-safety/