The key to storm survival is to prepare for the worst possible outcome. Following these steps before and after a storm will minimize the possibilities of a costly disaster.
Before a hurricane
– Fill bathtub with water, which can help with cleaning and flushing toilets. Do not leave small children unattended near full tub.
– Bring in all loose objects from the backyard.
– Charge your cellphone and an extra battery. Buy a car charger.
– Program emergency contacts into your phone.
After a hurricane
– Unplug appliances and electronics. Use flashlights, not candles, as needed.
– Remove wet carpets, padding, mattresses and upholstered furniture. Ventilate with fans and air conditioning. Open blinds, but not windows, because air encourages mold.
– If floodwaters reached your walls, remove drywall and insulation 12-18 inches above the waterline. If water only reached the baseboards, remove them and drill holes in the bottom of the wall.
– Disinfect floors with a solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water.
– If ceilings are sagging, it could be water. Poke holes in side of the sag to release the water, not the middle.
– If you suspect sewer or waterline damage, don’t use toilets or drink tap water. Call a plumber for the sewer and your water provider for the water line.
– If your home has been flooded, have your electricity checked before attempting to turn it back on.
– If you smell gas or hear hissing, open a window and leave. Call the gas company.
Store these important documents in clear, air-proof and waterproof containers that you can take with you.
– Identification: Passports and Social Security cards.
– Medical: Prescription information and immunization records.
– Financial: Customer service phone numbers and account numbers for banks and credit cards.
– Family records: Birth, marriage and death certificates.
– More: Insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks, bonds and other valuables.
Develop a plan for communication
During and immediately after a crisis, people can become separated and communication lines can become jammed. Avoid chaos by developing a plan beforehand.
– Establish a place to meet near home.
– Select a friend or relative who lives outside the region to be your contact.
– Take a cellphone charger when you evacuate.
Prepare your pantry
Stock up now to avoid last-minute panic shopping.
Plan for one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. (Half for drinking and half for sanitation.) Store the water in sturdy plastic containers.
Purchase enough canned meats, fruits and vegetables for at least three days. Most canned vegetables will keep two to five years. Canned meat can last up to five years. Don’t forget a hand – held can opener.