Local Severe Weather/Hurricane Preparedness - the drill

From: Amy J
Sent on: Friday, August 26, 2011 9:16 AM

Have already posted this on our message board but thought it was worth emailing.  Amy J 

Just wanted to share some information about local Severe Weather/Hurricane preparedness. Here is the routine that has worked for me for many years. Most storms in the Chapel Hill area (since we are inland) bring wind & rain which usually means power outages. So you need to think of everything you need electricity for and if you can do without it for a week. This was the case in the 90's when Hurricane Fran made landfall at Wrightsville Beach and the eye came over Chapel Hill at 4am. The good thing about summer/fall storms is they aren’t usually life threatening in terms of loosing heat or cooling. They are however a major inconvenience and disruption to your daily routine. Here’s the list. Feel free to share with your friends, family & neighbors.
1. Will you have water or clean water if the power goes out? If this is questionable pick up a 3 or 5 gallon bottled water container from the grocery store. You need ~ 1 gallon of drinking water per person a day. More if you have pets. If you will have water will you need to boil it?
2. If you may not have water, fill your bathtub but use a flat plastic cover over the stopper to prevent the water from leaking out. This water can be used to flush the toilets. I usually made sure I have clean clothes and shower before a storm. No water, no laundry, no baths, no flushing.
3. Do you have any camping gear? If so, recharge any lights and pick up propane for your camping stove. If not, be sure you have working flashlights, batteries, matches, candles, and charcoal for grilling. Have paper products, especially plates, cups, & towels. No water, no dish washing.
4. Do you have any nonperishable foods you could eat during a power outage? Do you have food for your pets? No electricity no refrigeration. Have seven days worth of can foods, peanut butter etc. Do you have an ice chest? Clean it out now. If we are out of power for a significant period of time the Red Cross, etc will distribute ice. You can’t really keep ice in the refrigerator though you can pack your freezer with it. This will delay the spoiling of your food. After Hurricane Fran, I joined friends & neighbors to grill everything we had in the freezer. If you have an ice maker turn it on and make extra ice to pack your freezer before the storm. Keep items you will want to use at the front of the refrigerator since every time you open the door it will begin to warm up. If items reach room temperature (some before this) everything will need to be thrown out. Do you have items which don’t really need to be refrigerated such as bread, fresh veggies and fruit? Be prepared to remove them out quickly if the power goes out.
5. If you take medication do you have a week’s supply left? Does your medication need to be refrigerated?
6. Do you have a portable radio/clock and is the battery working? Radio maybe the your only source of news and information. Most computer batteries last ~ 1hour. No email, no internet, no TV.
7. Go through your kitchen and inventory what power items have manual back ups. You’ll need a can/bottle opener. If you have an automatic coffee machine how will you make coffee? Grind any coffee beans in advance or pick up ground coffee.
8. Are you cell phone dependent? Charge your battery before the storm. No electric, no recharging the battery. Also cell towers don’t always work after storms. After Hurricane Fran, my landline was the only service I had for a week. (No cable, no electricity, and since I have a well, no water.)
9. No electricity means no ATM cash/bank machines, no electrical bank transfers, no gas pumps, and no credit card machines. Therefore, fill up your car, get money, and arrange for the payment of any on line (etc) bills due for the next seven days. If you have a gas can, fill it. If you have a gas chain saw check that it works. No electricity usually means no mail. (Unfortunate the motto only sticks to hospital employees and not the post office.)
10. If you have a deck or a yard is there anything that can be blown away? Move porch furniture, etc to an area where there is some protection from the wind. In a major storm strong winds will damage outside items or they can become missiles. Can you tie anything down or store it away?
11. Park your car in a protected area. If possible away from trees or in a location where your car will not be damaged and you can get out after the storm.
12. If you want to take photographs of aftermath (downed uprooted trees are an amazing sight) charge your camera battery now.
13. If you don’t have to go outside then don’t until the storm is over. Most people are injured or die from flooding or flying debris which become missiles. There are several areas through out town which are in a flood plain. The most notorious are the Brooker Creek area (including these apartments) and East gate. Don’t leave your car in these areas. If possible, park away from trees. People who live in a flood plain may loose any items on the first/ground floor.
http://www.mapquest.com/maps?address=%5B2500-2511%5D+Booker+Creek+Rd&city=Chapel+Hill&state=NC&zipcode=27514&latitude=35.9458&longitude=-79.02395&geocode=STREET
14. If there is chance of a tornado do you have a safe room or place to go to? Ideally, an internal room. When all else fails, get into the bath tub and pull something over you to protect yourself (ie pillow, mattresses, etc.)
15. When the storm is over check on your neighbors, friends, etc. May need to pool resources (i.e. chain saws).

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