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Hurricane Irene Safety Tips

By on August 26, 2011

Learning the fatal lessons from Hurricane Katrina, the eastern part of the country is bracing for Hurricane Irene,currently flirting with being a category two and three storm. Category two storms do moderate damage, with winds of 96-110 mph and category three hurricanes are capable of structural damage to buildings, with winds gusting upwards of 111-130 mph. Fatalities are often associated with storms in category three and beyond. 

New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware have all declared states of emergency as of Friday morning.  Irene’s maximum sustained winds have already increased to near 115mph and it’s likely to be Category 4 by the time it hits mainland U.S. (expected Saturday). Here are a few important things you and your family need to do now to prepare.

Before the Hurricane

  • Create an evacuation plan with your family in the event that a disaster is imminent.
  • Secure your home: Use storm shutters or plan to board up windows.
  • Check your property’s exterior: secure lawn furniture, make sure shrubs are trimmed.
  • Remove debris from any rain gutters or spouts.
  • Make sure your vehicles have plenty of fuel.
  • Pre-plan with your neighbors and family members to check on one another right after the storm.
  • Make sure you have plenty of water for several days use.
  • Get cash from the ATM as ATMs may not be accessible after the storm.
  • Make sure prescriptions are filled.
  • Buy food, pet food for pets and other supplies; expect to be without electricity for awhile.

When the Hurricane Hits

  • Listen to the TV and/or radio for updates; comply with authorities if an evacuation is mandated.
  • If asked to do so by authorities, turn off utilities including water, electricity and propane tanks.
  • Stay indoors at all times, close interior doors, secure exterior doors, and never crack the windows.
  • Find shelter in your home or elsewhere away from all windows,if necessary go into a closet.

Travel Tips

  • If you can reschedule any travel plans already made, do it.
  • Always purchase travel insurance that covers natural disasters, like hurricanes.
  • If a storm is imminent, check frequently with the airline to see if flights are being canceled.

After any hurricane, you want to make sure that all is definitely clear outside, and the storm has completely passed before going out. Take special care when venturing out because there may be downed power lines, stay away from them and report immediately. This is the time patience is needed because it will take a while before things get back to normal. And if you live in a rural area, expect delays with electricity being restored. Typically areas near hospitals are prioritized.

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