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Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

As the state of Florida makes preparations for Hurricane Irma, it’s a wise idea to begin your own emergency preparation plan if you haven’t already begun to do so.

In areas where hurricanes can strike, it’s a good idea to have a closet or a place set aside for storm preparedness storage. There, you can keep items you’ll need in case disaster strikes suddenly or you need to evacuate.


What to do as storm approaches

— Download an application to your smartphone that can notify people where you are, and if you need help or are safe. The Red Cross has a Hurricane App available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store as well as a shelter finder app. A first aid app is also available.

— Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8-inch plywood.

— Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind.

— Clear gutters of debris.

— Reinforce the garage door.

— Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.

— Fill a bathtub with water.

— Get a full tank of gas in one car.

— Go over the evacuation plan with the family, and learn alternate routes to safety.

— Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter.

— Put an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding.

— Evacuate if ordered and stick to marked evacuation routes if possible.

— Store important documents — passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds — in a watertight container.

— Have a current inventory of household property.

— Leave a note to say where you are going.

— Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.

— If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for the residence.


List of supplies

— A three-day supply of water, one gallon per person per day.

— Three days of food, with suggested items including: canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.

— A can opener.

— Flashlight(s).

— A battery-powered radio, preferably a weather radio.

— Extra batteries.

— A first aid kit, including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly.

— A small fire extinguisher.

— Whistles for each person.

— A seven-day supply of medications.

— Vitamins.

— A multipurpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.

— Cell phones and chargers.

— Contact information for the family.

— A sleeping bag for each person.

— Extra cash.

— A silver foil emergency blanket.

— A map of the area.

— Baby supplies.

— Pet supplies.

— Wet wipes.

— A camera (to document storm damage).

— Insect repellent.

— Rain gear.

— Tools and supplies for securing your home.

— Plastic sheeting.

— Duct tape.

— Dust masks.

— An extra set of house keys.

— An extra set of car keys.

— An emergency ladder to evacuate the second floor.

— Household bleach.

— Paper cups, plates and paper towels.

— Activities for children.

— Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.



What to do after the storm arrives

— Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.

— Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.

— Use the Facebook Safety Check to let family and friends know you’re safe.

— If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.

— Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.

— Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.

— Stay out of any building that has water around it.

— Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.

— Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.

— Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.

— Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.

— Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.

— Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.

— Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

Sources: American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Hurricane Center

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