I wanted to share this"Preparing for Hurricane Irene" letter from Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano to his constituents on Long Island. I think they have done an excellent job of communicating with the local residents in advance of Irene.
With hurricane Irene heading toward our coast, we urge all Nassau County residents to prepare appropriately for the storm. Below please find a list of precautions to take and items to have in your home to prepare you.
1. Select a safe place for the family to weather the storm. This may be a location in your home - consider a windowless room on the bottom floor. If your home doesn't have a safe area, you should know the locations of at least two emergency shelters near your home. If you have special medical needs and don't think you'll be able to get to the shelter on your own, contact the county in advance to make prior arrangements.
2. Stock up on food and water. You should have enough non-perishable food and water in your home to last the family for at least a week. If your stock of supplies is old, be sure to refresh it. You might want to purchase new canned goods every few years and rotate the rest through your pantry. Water should be replaced annually.
3. Prepare other disaster supplies. You'll need to stock up on batteries, flashlights, rope, tarps, plastic bags, bad-weather clothing and other essentials to help you through the aftermath of a bad storm.
4. Get your home ready. If you have hurricane shutters, make sure that you have all of the parts and have some extra screws/washers handy. If you don't, have a supply of plywood precut to fit your windows. Gather anything loose from your yard and store it in the garage. Watch the news when a storm is approaching and protect your home when advised by local authorities. If you wait until the rain starts, it may be too late.
5. Develop a family communications plan. You might become separated before or after the storm. It's a good idea to have an out-of-state contact (a relative up north?) to act as the point of contact for all family members in the event of an emergency. Make sure everyone in the family knows who that person is and carries their phone number in their wallet or purse.
6. Check your insurance coverage. Companies stop writing coverage when a storm is approaching. Ensure that your homeowner's insurance has enough windstorm coverage to rebuild your home in today's market. Also, remember that standard insurance doesn't cover flooding. You'll need special flood insurance from the federal government.
7. Plan for the family pets. Shelters will not accept pets. However, there will be Pet Shelters in close proximity to the Human shelters for your pets. The best idea is to evacuate early to a friend's home that's located in a safe area.
8. Keep your vehicles gassed up to at least half a tank at all times throughout hurricane season. When a storm approaches, lines WILL get long (up to five hours!) and gas stations will run out of gas before the storm hits. You need to have enough gas to safely evacuate if the situation warrants.
Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra
- batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler's checks and change
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
- (EFFAK) - PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
- Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency by visiting FoodSafety.gov.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Stay safe.
Edward P. Mangano