NEWS | Sept. 21, 2011

September is Emergency Preparedness Month

By Ready.gov website and the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron

Hurricanes

Prepare for hurricanes now. People who live in hurricane prone communities should know their vulnerability and what actions they should take to reduce the effects of these devastating storms.

Step 1: Build a Kit/"To-Go Bag"

Get an Emergency Supply kit which includes non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. Consider preparing a portable kit and keep it in your car in case you are told to evacuate.

-The kit should be in an easily accessible location that all family members are aware of.
-Supplies should be checked each month.

-Consider attaching a list of "last minute additions," and their locations to the outside of the kit for items such as birth or marriage certificates, insurance paperwork, a child's special blanket, etc.

Go to http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html for more information.

Step 2: Make a Family Emergency Plan

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. Be sure to involve your entire family in the planning process, no matter how young they are. Studies of Hurricane Katrina survivors show that children who were part of the planning process before the hurricane, suffered less emotionally than those children who weren't apart of the planning process. You should also consider:

· Evacuation plans: http://www.ready.gov/america/makeaplan/evacuating.html

· Family communications: http://www.ready.gov/america/_downloads/FamEmePlan.pdf

· Utility shut-off and safety: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/utilityplan.shtm

·Safety skills: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/safetyplan.shtm

Prepare and Protect Property

Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the National Flood Insurance Plan website, www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.

In addition to insurance, you can also:

· Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.

· Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

· Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.

· Secure your home by closing shutters and securing outdoor objects or bringing them inside.
· Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.

· Turn off propane tanks.

· Install a generator for emergencies.

· Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.

· Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

· Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting www.FoodSafety.gov.

Step 3: Be Informed

Hurricane hazards come in many forms: lightning, tornadoes, flooding, storm surge, high winds and even landslides or mudslides can be triggered in mountainous regions. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. Remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.

· Learn about damaging and potentially deadly hurricane hazards.

· Learn what to do during a hurricane.

· Get your children involved.

· Learn how to care for people with disabilities and other access and functional needs.

· Care for pets.

Finally, familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.

· A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area in the next 48 hours. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.

· A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area in the next 36 hours. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.

For more information on how to be informed, visit www.ready.gov and www.fema.gov.