Hurricane (June to November Hurricane season)
Best to evacuate (evacuation plan)
Most important things wanted in a hurricane: ice/water, gas and cash
Suggested to have on hand a large tarp (to cover roof damage) nails, hammer and battery operated clock and radio (for news updates)
Stock up on high energy food
Hygiene supplies: soap, liquid detergent, feminine supplies and bleach
Do not leave pets behind
Fill tub with water
Close all doors and stay in an interior room
Hazards include: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and flooding
Decide ahead of time, when you will leave, three days before a disaster (hurricane) is the best. Let others know when you leave and destination and leave a note at home telling others where you can be found.
Do not listen to rumors
Keep at least half a tank of gas in the car at all times
Become familiar with alternate routes. If your primary route is jammed, so will your secondary route (because everyone else is using that) so have a tertiary route planned and take that first!
If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to.
Take your 72 hour kit
Close and lock all house windows and doors and take your pet
Don’t drive through flooded areas
Avoid electrical wires
Take extra fuel containers, preferably full (ahead of time)
Take clothing and bedding (sleeping bags)
When evacuating - DON'T DELAY EVACUATION. It took Houston residents 12 hours to travel 45 miles. When everybody leaves at the same time, nobody leaves.
In an evacuation, no gas is available, the wait may be hours long or gas is used up in an evacuation due to stalled cars on the evacuation route.
In Rita (hurricane), if you left Thursday (three days before land fall), by the next day, you are still on the belt way-not out of the city.
Many sick or elderly have no transportation; the poor have broken down cars and no money for gas.
No gas is available for rescuers (police, ambulance and fire)
No gas to return home
Don’t wait to purchase flood insurance, it takes 30 days for the policy to go into effect. Purchase through your insurance agent. Consider purchasing flood insurance in February (before the spring snow melt).
Move valuables such as papers, pictures, furniture, and electronics to upper floors.
Fill bathtubs with clean water.
Turn off electricity at the main power switch.
Move to a safer area
Do not drive through flood waters.
Throw out foods and medicine exposed to flood waters
Boil water until local authorities indicate water is safe to drink.
If you have suffered a loss, call FEMA to register, if the President declares your area a federal disaster area 800-462-9029
Document flood damage. (videos, pictures)
Look out for animals and snakes that have moved into your house.
Do not use match or any open flame until an electrician and gas company inspector has inspected your house.
Remove debris from storm drains.
Immediately notify county officials if streams become blocked by debris.
Request sand bags from county officials BEFORE flooding.
Purchase and test monthly a smoke and C02 detector
Purchase a fire extinguisher (ABC) and practice using (PASS). Point, Aim to the base of the fire and sweep Side to Side).
Always know of at least two ways to leave a room in a fire.
Before opening a door, with the back of your hand feel if it is hot, if so, do not open.
Crawl, crawl, crawl (smoke is higher up)
Select a location to gather when everyone is out
A fire doubles in size every 60 seconds
Never leave the stove unattended. If there is a pot on fire, cover it with a lid or throw baking soda on the fire.
Teach children to Stop, Drop and Roll
Clear at least 30-50 feet safety zone from away from structures
Plant tress and shrubs less flammable such as hardwoods, avoid pine and evergreens
Have an emergency supply of water such as above ground tanks and swimming pools
Keep matches away from children and comply with firework regulations
Have your evacuation plan in place
Clean the roof and gutters of leaves and other debris
Have a ladder that reaches the roof
Keep tools available such as rakes, shovels, buckets, leather gloves and chainsaw
Listen for news updates
Crawl under sturdy table
If trapped, don’t yell, tap against an object (avoids inhaling dust)
EVACUATE a building as soon as possible, if outside avoid buildings and power lines
Evacuation plan has all your important phone numbers (phone lines will be down or jammed, texting will probably work better.
Strap water heater and bookshelves to wall studs.
Expect after shocks.
Don’t turn off gas unless you smell or hear it. Must be turned on by a professional.
Stay away from beaches due to potential of tsunami.
Open cabinets carefully, glassware and pots have shifted.
Falling debris around the exterior of buildings represents a serious potential for injury. Exercise caution when entering and exiting a building.
Avoid using the phone for anything other than an to call 911. Likely 911 will be jammed. Listen to the news to know other ways to report urgent emergencies. Calling city hall to get life or death information through may be another option. Structure damage is not life threatening. Avoid calling family members, texting is preferred for a method of getting assurance of your family safety.
Check out the After Disaster Plan
Check water, sewer and gas lines, do NOT turn off unless damaged
Expect after shocks
Avoid travel to keep roads clear for emergency vehicles
Phone lines will be busy, communicate with text
USGS provides real-time and accurate information. www.usgs.gov
Watch - Weather conditions are just right for a tornado to form.
Warning –Tornado has been sighted. Seek shelter immediately
Tornados can occur any time, but most often occur during late spring and early summer. (4pm-8pm)
Best shelter is in interior rooms and hallways, if outside lay in a depression or ditch and cover head.
Seek shelter in the lowest place (basements and bathrooms)
Cover yourself with a mattress or other heavy soft item to protect from flying debris
Listen to the radio. Take a flashlight, sturdy boots and leather gloves
Do not stay in a mobile home or car during a tornado
Do not use the telephone (land line) or electrical equipment (hair dryer or electrical blankets) during a storm
Disconnect electronic devices (computer, TV)
Avoid tall objects such as trees.
A car is safer than standing outside. Inside a building is better
If your hair starts to stand on end, crouch low on your toes, don’t lie flat
If on water, go to land immediately
Pandemic means a sickness that spreads through the population very quickly. The sickness (of whatever kind) causes people to have flu-like symptoms for long periods of time. It comes in waves of 3-4 months or longer. It results in people not being able to go to work, shopping, church or other places where people congregate. It overwhelms clinic and hospitals. Delivery of food, utilities, and other essential services could be disrupted due to illness, fear of exposure, and travel limitations. Flu shots take up to two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination. Flu season funs from November to March with peaks in January or February. Vaccine is good for three months. Avoid large crowds (church, school, work, store). You are contagious up to 8 days AFTER the onset of syptoms. H1N1 affects youth more than elderly. The seasonal flu tends to affect the elderly more than youth (generalization).
Exercise, eat healthy, drink plenty of liquids and get plenty of sleep.
Wash hands frequently with soap and water, if not available, use alcohol based hand cleaner.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
Stay home when you are sick (i.e. church, school, work shopping).
Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes
Avoid close contact with sick people
Those at greatest risk are elderly and children and you are contagious for 8 days after on set of symptoms.
1918-1919 estimated 675,000 US deaths (Spanish Influenza)
1957 estimated 69,800 US deaths (Asian Influenza)
1968 estimated 34,000 US deaths (Hong Kong Influenza)
Flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.
Avian (bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H1N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available.
Pandemic influenza is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily form person to person. Source: Department of Health and Human Services.
Never waste water (get leaky faucets fixed)
Take shorter showers and install a low volume shower head
Run washer and dishwasher only when full
Water lawns during designated hours (see local government guidance)
Avoid misting sprinklers and keep grass at least three inches or higher
Learn micro or drip irrigation
Follow water conservation rules especially washing cars and watering lawns
Plant drought resistant plants
Do not drink soda, caffeine or alcohol.
Drink plenty of water or Gatorade.
Young people and elderly are especially susceptible to heat injuries.
Watch for clammy skin, no sweating, dizziness and seek help
Avoid jogging or hard work during the hottest part of the day.
Slow down, stay indoors, and wear light clothing.
Never leave a child or animal in the car on a hot day
Wear a hat and sunscreen lotion to help prevent sunburn
Winter storm watch – possibility for bad weather, take precautions such as having water, food and light available (heat and light)
Winter storm warning- severe weather, stay home, have fun, relax.
Dress in layers especially head (75% of body heat lost through head).
Protect ears and nose with scarves and mittens.
Broken pipes, necessary to know where to turn off water valves.
Prevent frozen pipes and plumbing by covering outdoor faucets; let water drip slowly from indoor faucets.
Most people drive the same in good conditions or bad, plan on the other driver being unsafe.
Carry a shovel and kitty litter or sand
Count on bridges and road curves to always have black ice.
Prepare to loose power and heat. Have a way to heat the house with kerosene or catalytic (propane) burners (heating). Pull out flashlights and blankets. To conserve heat sleep in one room. If heating with kerosene or propane, ensure ¼ inch window open to allow oxygen into room.
Car kit should have hand warmers (car kit)
Do not cross ponds/lakes in the winter (thin ice)
After the storm, check on neighbors and remove snow. Don’t over exert
Remove snow near mail box and fire hydrants to assist mail carriers and fire departments
Close off rooms not being used to keep heat in key rooms
Fill up car with full tank of gas before the storm
If stuck in a car, don’t leave. Run car for 10 min every hour, put up a bright rag on the antenna and keep moving arms and legs.
Do not remove snow from roof. Most roofs are designed to hold 18 lbs of snow per square foot. Keep in mind the danger of a collapse occurs when snow melts and pools on the roof. Best to hire someone rather than risk personal injury.
West Nile Virus
Use mosquito repellent high in DEET 23% or higher
Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds (standing wter)
Report dead birds to authorities http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/city_states.htm
For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
Call power company (See your list of important numbers)
Turn off air conditioner and unplug electrical devices (computers, TV, microwave)
Avoid opening the fridge and freezer.
Freeze plastic soda bottles ahead of time to help keep fridge cold.
Use food from fridge first, then the freezer, then the pantry
Utility crews may need access to your yard, tie up your pet.
Use a generator outside.
Back up computer programs regularly.
Buy a surge protector and UPS (uninterruptible power supply)
Have an old fashioned rotary phone (does not use electricity)
Know how to open the garage door with no power (some people don’t carry a key to their house because they rely on the garage door, recommend carrying a house key)
Leave one light on, to know when power is restored.
Avoid travel - traffic signals out
In a blackout, children like having light sticks that glow in the dark when snapped. It doesn’t really produce a lot of light, but it helps them sleep in their beds more quickly because they have their own special light stick. Remove the rope from the stick so it does not get tangled while they sleep. Light
Flashlight with extra batteries (no candles)
Use an oil lamp
Purchase a battery booster used to recharge car batteries.
It will provide about six hours of light for a lamp with a 25 watt bulb.
Battery or hand crank radio
Southern climates get very hot and humid. A car booster unit will run a fan for a few hours.
Coleman propane stove with extra propane bottles. Great for cooking and heating water.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider a portable instant hot water shower unit ($150) and power inverter $50-$100 that can be hooked up to a car battery to supply light and power to other electrical devices.
If the water recedes on the beach unusually far, seek high ground immediately
If near a large body of water (ocean, lake, pond) and an earthquake occurs, seek higher ground immediately
A tsunami is caused by forces sometimes thousands of miles away, listen to and heed news reports.
Carry dust masks or breath through cloth
Carefully remove large accumulations of dust on the roof, may collapse roofs
Snow may melt from heat; evacuate low lying or canyon areas.
Close windows and doors
Avoid driving, dust clogs air filters
Use goggles to protect eyes
Stay in one place, unless you can see help. (Scouts hug a tree)
Answer noise with noise, keeps critters away and helps searches find you
Build a fire
Make a monument of rocks, spell a name
Take steps to stay dry and warm
Hunker down means no fuel, no escape, no assistance for days or weeks, no electricity or running drinking water.
Disaster During a Vacation
Know evacuation routes away from the city
Know several ways how to get out of the airplane or hotel
Have bottled water available and high energy food (granola bars)
Know where your family will meet if separated
Have emergency phone numbers on each person (especially out of town contact)
Contact Red Cross for assistance and to let them know you are accounted for
When going on vacation shut off the water into the house.
Ask a trusted neighbor to look after your home while away.
Contact each of the three credit bureaus fraud departments.
For any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened, contact the security department of the appropriate creditor or financial institution. Close these accounts. Put passwords (not your mother's maiden name or Social Security number) on any new accounts you open.
File a report with local police where the identity theft took place. Get the report number or a copy of the report in case the bank, credit card company or others need proof of the crime later.
Call the ID Theft Clearinghouse toll-free at 1.877.ID.THEFT (1.877.438.4338) or TTY (1-866-653-4261) to report the theft. Counselors will take your complaint and advise you on how to deal with the credit-related problems that could result from ID theft. The Identity Theft Hotline and the ID Theft Website (www.ftc.gov/idtheft) give you one place to report the theft to the federal government and receive helpful information. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/02/idtheft.shtm
Know what to do, if it happens to you. http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17a.htm
Check your statements monthly for charges that you did not make.
Save for an emergency (put away something, even if it is only a small amount)
Check your auto and home insurance BEFORE a disaster
Make copies of important documents
Conduct an inventory of your home belongings including model and serial numbers, the best way to document your inventory is through video
Recovery will take years
You may live in temporary housing
Seek out assistance from local, state and federal resources (loans and grants)
Small Business Association http://www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/index.html (despite the name, homeowners apply for disaster aid through the SBA)
Local city/county government
Red Cross www.redcross.org
Other volunteer organizations
File insurance claims (insurance link)
Do not move an accident victim ESPECIALLY THEIR HEAD.
Don’t admit fault or offer to pay damages
Keep victims calm and still. You need to be in control as well. Hold back your emotions.
Ask the victim if they have any medical problems.
Treat for shock (blanket)
Move the vehicle, if possible, to a safe location out of the flow of traffic (right side of the road).
Exchange drivers license information and insurance information
Write down license plate number, state, appearance of driver and appearance of car, if the other car tries to leave.
Fill out police report at police station (keep a copy)
Contact insurance agency immediately
Get a second estimate
Preplan written instructions separate from your will.
Name of the mortuary
Burial (embalmed) or cremation
Type of casket or urn
Where remains buried or scattered
Will there be visitation (open or closed casket)
What prayers, songs or poems
What you want on the grave marker
Cemetery where you wish to be buried
Leave survivors with all your important papers such as:
Real estate holdings
Account numbers, passwords and pin numbers
For health regulations, most shelters do not accept animals.
License your pet and have them wearing their id tags at all times.
Store extra food and water for pets.
Pets should not be left behind. Take to a family members home (animal shelters will already be closed).
If left behind, leave a large container of water that can’t be tipped over and plenty of dry food. If necessary, leave some water in the tub or a facet dripping.
Do NOT tie or cage your pet.
Post a sign on the window to alert rescue workers of how many pets were left behind.
Disaster supply kit for pet
Pet first aid kit
Leash or harnesses
Food and water for one week for each pet
Photo of pet
Large plastic bags for pet cleanup
Tips for Elderly
Keep a whistle to signal for help
Find two people who will check on you.
Hearing aids and batteries
Medications along with list of allergies
Equipment (canes, walkers, wheelchairs)
Copies of insurance cards and Medicare cards
Because taking medicine usually requires water, have at least two weeks of water on hand "how important is water?"
If an evacuation were to happen, pre-arrange to have someone pick you up.
Tips for Infants/Children
Have on hand for a minimum:
Diaper rash ointment (Desiten)
Do not place cribs near a window or book shelves that may topple or break during an earthquake
Teach children to recognize the smell of natural gas
Teach children to crawl when they smell smoke, leave a building immediately during a fire and introduce them to firemen in their full fire uniform so they will not be afraid in an actual event
As part of your evacuation plan, include blankets and a wagon or stroller
Buy a manual can opener
Buy a breaker bar and socket that match your vehicles tire nuts exactly. Store it in the trunk. This way if you need to replace your tire you aren’t relying on a six inch car tire tool that comes form the manufacture to loosen nuts that are stuck and purchase some work gloves and a tarp to throw on the ground when you need to retrieve the tire under the car in the snow, dirt or mud.
Water storage for a year using dry chlorine
Go to a cheap dollar store, buy a wrench, match it to the right size of your gas meter, coat it in WD-40, put it in a zip lock bag and tie it to the meter. This way if you need to turn it off, the shut off wrench is already the right size in case water rusts it.
Buy a medicine dropper (can be used to add liquid bleach to contaminated water). Put it in your first aid kit.
Become familiar with alternate routes. If your primary route is jammed, so will your secondary route (because everyone else is using that) so have a tertiary route planned and take that first! Carry a map of local and state roads.