Now, in mid-fall, the holiday season is in full swing and with it comes a ton of stress and worry that is not limited to how much money you are spending. Hurricane season comes to an end in November, and while the end appears to be near, we should view the recent storm off the East Coast as a warning and take all necessary precautions. While the event of any natural disaster can sometimes seem unlikely, there are very real chances that something terrible could happen at any moment. The best course of action at this point is to make sure you are prepared for whatever may come your way.
If you live outside of an evacuation zone, consider yourself very lucky. During an emergency situation, those whose homes are in low-lying areas or near large bodies of water should prepare to leave as soon as a warning is issued instructing them to do so. Local emergency management offices will inform you if your home is in a safe area or not.
If you live in an evacuation zone, prepare an action plan and discuss it with everyone in your household. Determine exactly where you will go in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm. Make a list of everything you want to bring and plan to store your precious belongings that cannot go with you in a high, secure space. If you drive, fill up your gas tank frequently to avoid the clutter and hassle of long lines when a warning is issued.
If you plan to wait for the storm to pass in a public shelter, be aware that not all places accept pets and most of those that do require you to provide your own food and water, as well as a carrying case that allows give the animal enough room to stand up. Make sure your pets are up to date on all their vaccinations and wear a collar or harness with their identification in case they get lost. If you lose your pet, contact your local humane society as soon as possible.
If the power goes out in your home, refrigerated food will only last a few hours, which is why stocking up on non-perishable items is so important. Buying a generator is a great way to provide electricity for the things you need the most, but at the very least, make sure you have enough flashlights and batteries on hand. Water is of course another much-needed supply and a great way to store gallons is to fill your bathtubs. Make sure all your phones and computers are charged enough to last during a power outage too, in case you need to reach someone. A first aid kit is another must-have item on your list along with toilet paper.
Preparing your home
Tape your windows and / or secure them with plywood to prevent breakage. Pick up loose debris that surrounds the exterior of your home, as it can contribute to further damage during the storm. Make sure your refrigerator is at the coldest possible temperature to preserve food for a longer period of time. Find a place inside your home that is not near a window and plan to stay there for the duration of the storm.
Hurricane Sandy relief
There are many people on the East Coast who took every possible precaution to ensure their safety during the storm, but unfortunately most, if not all, still face the damaging aftermath. Fortunately, the American Red Cross is accepting donations to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. All donations go towards providing victims with shelter, food, medical care, emotional support and emergency services.
Disaster Relief from the American Red Cross