As you know, Hurricane Irene is expected to reach Long Island this weekend and my staff and I are busy preparing to make sure Babylon residents are safe. FEMA has predicted that our communities may be significantly affected, and I am writing to share some key resources to prepare for Hurricane Irene and its potential aftermath.
You can also receive mobile updates by visiting http://m.fema.gov/
Governor Cuomo has declared New York to be in a state of emergency, and his preparedness website suggests the following steps:
- Know the hurricane risks in your area. Learn the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
- Learn safe routes inland.
- Learn the location of official shelters.
- Ensure that enough non-perishable food and water supplies are on hand.
- Have at least a one week supply of medications on hand.
- Obtain and store materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood.
- Review your insurance policy.
- Determine where to move your boat in an emergency.
- Make plans now on what to do with your pets should you be required to evacuate your residence. Public health regulations do not allow pets in public shelters, nor do most hotels/motels allow them.
Family Response Plan
Prepare a plan for your family and loved ones in advance of hazardous weather. You should:
- Contact your local National Weather Service office or Emergency Management office to learn what types of disasters could occur and how you should respond.
- Learn the warning signals and evacuation plans of your community.
- Know the Emergency Alert System radio and television stations in your area that will carry official information. Also, monitor NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, if possible.
- Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane or severe storm. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
- Designate an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members should call to report their whereabouts. Make certain all family members have the phone number.
- Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
- Check your home and property for potential hazards to see what actions need to be taken to ensure your safety and to protect your belongings.
- Check your insurance coverage. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Inventory household items with photographs.
- Install safety features in your residence such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
- Know where the designated shelters are within your community and how to get to them.
- Determine if your family has any special needs and develop a plan for meeting those needs. For example: If you have a family member on a life-support system, does your electric utility know about it?
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.
- Teach all family members, including children, how and when to call 911 or your local EMS phone number.
Family Emergency Supplies
Have these items in your residence ready to use in the event of an emergency:
- Flashlights with extra batteries. Keep flashlights with extra, fresh batteries and keep them beside your bed and in several other locations. Do not use matches.
- Portable radio with extra batteries. Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio, including NOAA Weather Radio, will be the best source of emergency information.
- First aid kit / first aid skills. Keep your first-aid kit well stocked and in a central location. Take basic first-aid and CPR courses. Keep your skills current.
- Fire extinguisher. Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires and should be easily accessible. Teach all family members how to use it.
- Food. Store a three-day supply of food for each person. Items such as canned or dehydrated food, powdered milk and canned juices can be rotated into your daily diet and replenished on a regular basis.
- Include food for infants or the elderly, snack foods and items such as a non-electric can opener, cooking utensils, paper/plastic plates and plastic utensils.
- Water. Store a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store in air-tight containers and replace them every six months. Keep a disinfectant, such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, to purify water, if necessary.
- Extra blankets and clothing may be required to keep warm. Sturdy shoes protect feet from broken glass and debris.
- Alternate cooking source. Store barbecue, charcoal, starter and matches in case utilities are out of service. Do not use these methods of cooking within a confined area.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members. Have at least a one week supply of medications and foods for infants and those on special diets.
- Important documents should be stored in a waterproof container. Examples: insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. Also, checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards.
Tools. Have a crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water if necessary and know the location of the shut-off valves.
- LIPA: http://www.lipower.org/stormcenter/
- American Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist: http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/checklists/...
- NOAA Hurricane Preparedness: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/announcement/hurricanePreparedness.pdf
- White House Blog for latest updates: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/23/hurricane-irene-national-resou...
I hope that you find this information helpful for you and your family. Please be sure to stay safe, and feel free to contact our campaign if we can be of assistance.