While there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the precise track that Hurricane Irene will take as it nears the East Coast, now is the best time for New Englanders to begin preparing for the possibility of severe weather. With the storm still roughly four days away, there is plenty of time to safely and thoroughly prepare using the tips below from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Think about the supplies you will need for a basic emergency kit. These will include:
- Water: one gallon per person per day for three days is the recommended quantity.
- Food: three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Radio: battery powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio for receiving weather alerts, along with extra batteries for both.
- Flashlight: make sure to have extra batteries for the flashlight as well.
- First Aid Kit: your first aid kit should include two pairs of latex or sterile gloves, sterile wound dressings, a cleansing agent and antibiotic towelettes, burn ointment, adhesive bandages, eye wash solution, a thermometer, any medication prescribed to you and your family members that you take every day, such as insulin, heart medicine, and inhalers, as well as any prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment. Tweezers and scissors may also be helpful to have on hand.
- Whistle: to signal for help.
- Sanitation: moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties.
- Can opener
- A map
- Cell phone: extra batteries and a solar or inverter charger should also be considered.
Other items to consider:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and water for your pet
- Cash and travelers checks
- Important financial documents, insurance policies, passports and identification, immigration documents, and bank account records stored in a portable and waterproof container.
- Emergency reference materials, such as a first aid manual
- A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sturdy shoes
- Chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper. Add 16 drops of bleach to a gallon of water to create a disinfectant.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene products
- Mess kits and paper towels
- Paper and pencils
- Books, games, puzzles, and other activities for children
Should hurricane conditions be expected by the National Weather Service, prepare your home and property:
- Take in bikes, lawn chairs, tables, and other items from yards and decks, as they could be picked up by strong gusts of wind.
- Close all windows, doors, and storm shutters. If forecasts show that hurricane-force winds may strike the area, it is recommended that you cover windows with plywood.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings and keep them closed as much as possible to keep air cold in case the power goes out.
- Make sure your car has a full tank of gas.
Please pay close attention to news and weather reports in the coming days. Staying informed is one of the best ways to be prepared and stay safe.