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Hurricane Fact Sheet
 
Hurricanes can be dangerous killers. Learning the hurricane warning messages and planning ahead can reduce the chances of injury or major property damage. Click a link below to learn specific information to prepare you for each phase of the storm.
 

BEFORE THE STORM

Check into flood insurance. You can find out about the National Flood Insurance Program through your insurance agent or the Emergency Management Department. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. Homeowners polices do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.

Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.

Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a hurricane. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.

Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.

Prepare window protection methods. Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood--marine plywood is best--cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm.

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DURING A HURRICANE WATCH


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Review your family disaster plan and check your Emergency Supplies Kit to include food and water supplies. Other supplies may include:
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes
dot Review evacuation plans. Learn safe routes inland and plan your evacuation route. Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place.
dot Make sure the gas tank in your car is full.
dot Make arrangements for pets, i.e. pet friendly shelters (see Shelter Listing)
dot Refill prescription medications.
dot Anchor or stow small boats.
dot Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; anchor objects that cannot be brought inside
dot Remove outside antennas.
dot Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows.
dot Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
dot Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs and bottles.
dot Trim back dead or weak branches from trees
dot Stay tuned to local media and your Weather Alert Radio for updates on the storm

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DURING A HURRICANE WARNING
 

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Store valuables such as jewelry, silverware and scrapbooks in a safe place, i.e. waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
dot Park your car in a sheltered area or on high ground.
dot Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
dot Remain calm and prepare to evacuate if the order is given.
dot If at home, stay inside away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
dot Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
dot If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.
dot If officials indicate evacuation is necessary:
  • Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
  • Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
  • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
  • If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or better yet, move it to a higher floor.
  • Bring pre-assembled emergency supplies and warm protective clothing.
  • Take blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.
  • Lock up home and leave.
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AFTER THE STORM
 

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Stay tuned to local radio for information
dot Help injured or trapped persons.
dot Give first aid where appropriate.
dot Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
dot Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
dot Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police or fire department.
dot Enter your home with caution.
dot Beware of snakes, insects and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
dot Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
dot Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
dot Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents and for insurance claims.
dot Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
dot Use telephone only for emergency calls.
 
INSPECTING UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME

Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.

Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

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Information compiled from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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