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Inside of the house

    Follow these steps in your home prior to the storm: WHEN A STORM THREATENS Seal key documents — including passports, wills, contracts, insurance papers, car titles, deeds, leases and tax information — in zip plastic bags and get into a protected, dry place, such as a safe-deposit box or home safe. Monitor the news Set the refrigerator to its coldest setting in anticipation of the power failing. Fill the bathtub. It may be your main supply of water. Stock heavy-duty garbage bags for post-storm home and yard cleanup. Check flashlight and radio batteries and have extras on hand. Charge rechargeable cellphones, drills, power screwdrivers, flashlights, lanterns and batteries. Make sure you have enough toilet paper to last until you can safely get to the store again. If you live in mobile home, you should evacuate if a hurricane of any strength is heading your way. If you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, you must evacuate if an order is given. Please see evacuation zone maps (if available) to find out which areas must evacuate for Category 1 or 2 hurricanes and which must leave for Category 3 or higher storms. Your first choice should be to stay with a friend or family member who is living close by but is not in a flood-vulnerable area. If you plan to leave, start packing. Don’t wait until the storm is almost here to get on the road. WHEN A STORM IS APPROACHING Don’t be misled by landfall predictions. Strong winds could arrive hours before official landfall and be many miles away from the eye. Move furniture away from windows or cover with plastic. Move as many valuables as possible off the floor to limit flooding damage. If possible, secure small, fragile and/or valuable items that could be thrown around if winds enter your home.
  • Buy supplies early. Don’t wait until a storm threatens. Lines will be long and supplies short. HURRICANE KIT Assemble this now. Put aside in a special box. Keep heat-sensitive items inside home and rotate stock throughout season:  Flashlights and extra bulbs Clock (wind-up or battery-operated) Battery-operated radio Extra batteries (can be stored in refrigerator) Toilet paper Matches (camping stores have waterproof matches) Scissors Plastic garbage bags Working fire extinguisher Clean change of clothes, rain gear, sturdy swamp boots Fully charged battery-operated lanterns. Don’t use candles and kerosene lanterns. They are fire hazards. Map of the area List of phone numbers Copy of insurance policy FOOD SUPPLIES Get enough nonperishable foods now to last two weeks. Then put them in a box and leave them alone. Note: Canned and other prepared foods that are salty or dry or high in fat or protein might make for good provisions, but they’ll also make you thirsty. Water: Enough for 1 gallon of drinking water per person/per day, for one-week minimum. Water for two weeks is ideal. (Also, figure another 1 gallon per person/per day of water for washing hands, flushing toilets and for pets.) Ice or dry ice Shelf-stable milk and juice boxes Canned and powdered milk Beverages (powdered or canned, fruit juices, instant coffee, tea) Raw vegetables that don’t need refrigeration (will last only a few days) Canned vegetables and fruits Dried fruits Prepared foods (canned soups, beef, spaghetti, tuna, chicken, ham, corned beef hash, packaged pudding) Snacks (crackers, cookies, hard candy, unsalted nuts) Snack spreads (peanut butter,cheese spreads, jelly) Cereals Sugar, salt, pepper Bread Dry and canned pet food  HARDWARE Hand tools: hammer, screwdrivers to use now, shovel and pickax for after the storm Power screwdriver Quarter-inch machine screw sockets and screws Plastic sheeting to cover furniture Rope Sturdy working gloves Duct tape to waterproof items; masking tape isn’t strong enough Canvas tarps Sturdy nails FIRST-AID KIT Drugstores will be mobbed just before a storm and closed for days after. Keep a two-week supply of prescription drugs. Your first-aid kit should include: Medical supplies First-aid handbook Insect repellent sprays Citronella candles, insect bite lotion Petroleum jelly, for relieving itching Ointments for burns, cuts Antiseptic solution Sunscreen Extra over-the-counter medicine (for colds, allergies, cough) Aspirin, acetaminophen, antacid Children’s medicines Diarrhea medication Feminine hygiene items Incontinence supplies Rubbing alcohol Iodine Disinfectant Wet wipes Moist towelette packets Medic Alert tags Thermometer Hypoallergenic adhesive tape Cotton-tipped swabs Sterile rolls Adhesive bandages Sterile gauze pads Roller bandages Tweezers Needles Adhesive tape Safety pins Latex gloves KITCHEN SUPPLIES Waterless hand sanitizer Manual can opener Water purification tablets Bottle opener Matches in a plastic bag Pocket knife Camp stove or other cooking device and plentyof fuel. (Use only canned fuel indoors — never charcoal or gas. Buy extragas or charcoal to use in well-ventilated space after storm has passed.) Ice chests or coolers Paper plates, napkins Plastic cups, utensils Disposable pans for cooking Plastic bags, jugs or containers for water and ice BABY NEEDS Disposable diapers Baby wipes Diaper-rash ointment Baby medicines Medicine dropper Extra formula, baby food EMERGENCY TOILET Garbage can with tight lid Plastic bags for liners Disinfectant or bleach Deodorizer Extra toilet paper
  • Outlets may not be safe if they get wet Outlets must be properly grounded. Professionally installed outlets are grounded, but install-yourself units might not be. But if outlets get wet, they might be unsafe, regardless of grounding. You need a surge protector, not just a power strip, to protect your electronic equipment. Check the label to see if it is UL (Underwriters Laboratory) listed and complies with 1449 TVSS (Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor) standard. Battery backup: Use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) with a built-in battery to power your computer in case of a short power outage. Never plug laser printers into a UPS. Do not rely on general purpose battery back-ups (UPS) to power critical medical devices during an electrical storm. Check with your doctor or pharmacy to obtain approved systems for that purpose. If you evacuate: Computers and other electronics equipment should be unplugged and stored in high cabinets or interior closets away from windows. Cover the equipment with strong trash bags. Copy important computer files onto two sets of CDs. Keep one with you and have another in a separate location. Take the CDs if you have to evacuate. Getting reconnected: If outlets or electrical equipment have been exposed to water or moisture, replace items or have a professional inspect and give the OK before you use them. Don’t just wait until the equipment has dried; it might be damaged and unsafe. Some appliances’ motors or circuits boards are near the bottom and can get wet in even minimal flooding. If in doubt, throw it out! More safety tips: www.UL.com/consumers CELLPHONES Plan for trouble with your cellular service for at least a day or two after the hurricane. Before the storm, charge phones and cellphone batteries. Get a charger that can be plugged into a car’s utility outlet. If you find regular phone service is unsatisfactory, try your cellphone’s text messaging or walkie-talkie features. HOME PHONES Invest in an inexpensive phone that connects right to the wall jack, since you’ll be out of luck if you just have cordless phones, which need electricity. DIGITAL CAMERAS Make sure the camera is charged and has fresh batteries and the media card has enough room to store your post-storm images. You might not be able to download photos to your computer, to clear space on the card, if the electricity is out. Consumer tips from AT&T Here are AT&T’s recommendations for consumers in preparation for hurricane season: Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain that all family members know whom to contact if they become separated. Most importantly, practice your emergency plan in advance. Be sure you have a “hurricane phone.” It’s a good idea to have a wireless phone on hand and at least one corded (landline) telephone that is not dependent on electricity in case of a power outage. Cordless telephones usually have receivers that are electrically charged, so they won’t work if you lose your power. Program all of your emergency contact numbers and e-mail addresses into your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members. Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an alternative plan to recharge your battery in case of a power outage, such as charging your wireless device by using your car charger or having extra mobile phone batteries or disposable mobile phone batteries on hand. Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements by storing it in a baggie or some other type of protective covering. Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get incoming calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is disrupted at your home. In the unlikely event that the central office is not operational, services such as voice mail, call forwarding, remote access call forwarding and call forwarding busy line/don’t answer may be useful. You can track the storm and access weather information on your wireless device. Many homes lose power during severe weather. Services are available that allow you to watch weather reports, if you have a wireless device that provides access to the Internet. If you have a camera phone, take, store and send photos — even video clips — of damaged property to your insurance company from your device. Take advantage of location-based mapping technology. Services help you seek evacuation routes, avoid traffic congestion from downed trees or power lines and track a family member’s wireless device in case you get separated. 
  • WATER Basics: Enough for 1 to 1.5 gallons of drinking water per person per day, for one-week minimum (a two-person household would need 14 to 21 gallons).  Water for two weeks is ideal. Also figure 1 gallon per person per day of water for washing hands, flushing toilets and for pets. Special needs: Without air conditioning, the body is susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration. Have extra water for infants, youngsters, nursing mothers, and the elderly. Water in bulk: You can buy 5- and 10-gallon water bottles, but they’re hard to lift or move. Or sanitize a large garbage can with lid to store drinking water. Pour 1 cup of regular, unscented household bleach to a full 30 gallons of water; let stand overnight, drain and rinse well. Fill with tap water and replace lid. Buy a long-handled ladle, keep paper cups nearby. Freezing jugs of water also helps keep foods frozen, to and provides chilled drinking water. For washing and household needs, sanitize the bathtub by scrubbing well, then rinsing with 1 cup bleach to a tub of water. Let stand overnight; drain and refill. Use primarily for flushing toilet but, if necessary, for bathing or washing. Keep water clean! Contaminated water can cause diarrhea, leading to dehydration. If drinking water is compromised, use for washing up or flushing toilets. After a storm, do not use tap water for drinking unless you boil it for three minutes first or use purifying methods. Wait until utility or local government say water is safe to drink. ICE Freezing water jugs: Buy 1-gallon containers of drinking water (21/2 gallons, if your freezer will accommodate them), drain out about 1/2 cup to leave room for expansion, seal tightly, and freeze.   Keep the jugs in the freezer even after the power goes out; they last longer than in coolers. Once thawed, the water is drinkable. Rebottle it into smaller bottles to carry, or use it from the larger jugs, but keep it clean and uncontaminated. Buy block ice if possible (available from ice companies, boat supply stores and some grocery stores). It lasts up to three times as long as bagged, cubed ice. Make your own blocks. When a storm approaches, clean freezer and fill it with stackable containers of water. Large mixing bowls or small buckets work. Freeze, and when frozen, transfer ice blocks to sealable bags. Buy extra coolers. Smaller areas are easier to chill. Once the power goes out, and foods begin to thaw or warm, pack them, tightly, into the bottom of coolers, then top with ice. Try the bathtub. If not using for water, use for ice. Buy huge blocks and load up tub. Cover with tarp. Fill with cubed ice; cover with newspapers and heavy tarp, then a layer of plastic to keep cold in. Put drainplug in to save the water for other uses. Put foods under or below ice, not on top of it. DRY ICE Place blocks in bottom of cooler. Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide, usually produced in 10-by-10-inch blocks weighing about 55 pounds. Basic tips Dry ice blocks usually retail for about $1 a pound, so a block should cost $50 to $60. Some places have a minimum purchase. Dry ice can keep food in a cooler frozen solid for a few days. Ten pounds typically will last one to two days in a cooler. Dry ice also is available in cut blocks, nuggets and small “rice pellets.” The smaller sizes are more convenient but dissipate at a faster rate. How to use To keep a product frozen, place dry ice on top of it, not under it. Dry ice will not harm wrapped frozen food. To keep food cool (but not frozen), place dry ice in bottom of an insulated cooler, cover with regular ice or insulating material, then place foods on top. Fill in remaining space with a towel or crumpled newspapers. Open cooler only when necessary. Do not place dry ice in a freezer with running power. It will shut down the thermostat. Use in a freezer only if the power is off. Do not place dry ice directly on a glass shelf; it can crack it; line the shelf with thick newspapers first. Use 1 1/2 pounds of dry ice per cubic foot in a freezer. Regular ice is best for refrigerated foods. Dry ice can freeze them. Safety advice Do not touch dry ice! It can cause severe burns. Use tongs, cloth gloves, a pot holder or some other separator. Do not put dry ice in an airtight container or vacuum-style cooler (never in glass) — it can cause an explosion. Do not inhale. Heavy carbon dioxide vapor released may cause suffocation.
  • Leave salty favorites, sodas and alcohol off shopping list When you’re hot, stressed and thirsty, certain foods are a bad idea; some speed up dehydration. Here are foods that should be a last resort for storm preparation: Salty chips, salted nuts and snack foods: These add little nutrition, and your body is going to be stressed. They cause immediate thirst. Crackers and peanut butter are convenient, but they’re salty and can cause extreme thirst. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, but it’s generally salty. Use it sparingly. Candy: Most candy has high sugar levels, which contributes to thirst. Sodas: Your body needs liquids, more in extreme heat and humidity. Better choices are vegetable and fruit juices that can supply needed vitamins. One caveat: Fruit juices should be given sparingly to infants — they can cause diarrhea, leading to serious dehydration. Moderate your intake of sports drinks, which have extra sodium. Alcohol: Don’t run for a cold one. In a situation with downed power lines, broken glass and flooding, wait to celebrate the storm’s end when things have settled down. Essential foods to make meals palatable Boiling water will be a best method for cooking with many of these items; remember to use clean water. 1. Couscous and five-minute rice. Pour boiling water over these packages, cover, and let stand. 2. Salsa, chunky pasta sauce 3. Ramen noodles. Pour boiling water over them and voilà! 4. Shelf-stable bacon, hard sausages. Make BLT’s, add to baked beans, bean salad. Keep in cooler once opened. 5. Single-serve condiments (individual packets of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and relish) 6. Pouches of cooked tuna, salmon and chicken. Grill chicken or fish fillets briefly for a “real” meal. 7. Shelf-stable milk. Add to canned soup and heat it up on the grill for substance. Put it in coffee, use it for cereal or make chocolate milk for kids. 8. Shelf-stable cheese. Processed cheese (Velveeta) and sliced cheeses made with oil are shelf-stable. 9. Canned potatoes, canned beans and veggies. 10. Individual puddings, fruit cups How to pack up your kitchen Must-haves for before a storm and for keeping foods safe afterward. Heavy-duty plastic bags: “Contractor bags” are the strongest ones out there, and are available at home warehouse stores and Publix. These hold sticks and bricks without tearing; good for packing boxes of food, countertop appliances, and things with sharp corners. They come in 30- and 50-gallon sizes. (They can be slit apart and used as thick plastic tarps for countertops or protecting big items.) Permanent markers: Use them to label jars and cans that might lose their labels in high humidity or floods. Write contents of cans on their bottoms or tops and date them; label plastic bags or bins to identify items packed within. Food-sized storage bags or containers: Empty all open packages of foods into these airtight bags or bins to keep them fresh. Extra water jugs: Preferably 2.5 gallons or larger. Buy the biggest size your freezer will hold. Heavy-duty plastic garbage cans with lids: Can be used for water storage, packing foods, packing valuables — or storing trash. Extra coolers: Buy metal ones with foam/plastic inserts for maximum cooling (see ship’s stores or online sources). Buy large Igloo-type coolers that can stack and are on wheels. Buy foam ones to have on hand, but note these are not meant for long-term ice storage. Consider investing in a small cooler that plugs into the cigarette lighter of the car, or a mini-fridge to plug into a generator. Waterproof storage bins: Flooding during a storm can be more of a problem than winds. Packing everything in plastic, waterproof bins can save the items. For already opened foods, use bins with airtight seals. Use large, clean garbage cans for additional storage. Preparing for flood conditions When the kitchen floods, even canned foods can be compromised; those in boxes or cellophane surely are. To prepare your kitchen for flooding: Pack as many loose foods as possible into plastic, airtight containers. Label with permanent marker. Pack sealed foods in watertight storage bins or heavy trash bags. (Do not use cardboard boxes for packing.) All opened jars and cans (examples: spices, coffee, popcorn, peanut butter) should be packed in heavy-duty plastic bags, or plastic waterproof storage bins; label them, then pack into larger storage tubs. Clean out under-counter cabinets, including cookware and everything that can rust or be damaged by water. Unplug all appliances that aren’t essential. Pack in plastic bins and wrap boxes with plastic sheets or bags. Use a permanent marker to write the contents of cans on their tops or bottoms in case labels are lost. Emergency travel bin Matches, adapter for car that converts plug-in devices to operate from the car cigarette lighter Sterno, or canned heat source Small saucepan Tea kettle Metal utensils Can, bottle openers Paper plates, cups, towels, disposable utensils Wet-wipes Condiment packets Instant coffee, tea bags Individual drink mix packs Shelf-stable milk, juices Canned foods Ramen noodles, couscous, instant rice Salsa or pasta sauce Foil packets of tuna, salmon or chicken Bottled water Baby food Pet food
  • Facilities Secure your building, equipment and inventory. Keep an extra stock of vital supplies and backup files of records at an off-site location. Review your insurance coverage. Inventory, document and photograph equipment and offices. Have copies of policies and contact numbers. Operations Plan to work with limited cash, no power and water for two weeks after the storm. Consider a backup generator. Store emergency supplies at the office. Develop a contingency plan to operate from another site if your office is unusable. This backup site should be at least 50 miles from main headquarters and should have phones and computer access. Communications Make a list of key phone numbers, computer passwords and other critical information. Establish a system for contacting employees after the storm. Contact customers and suppliers in advance of storm and share your recovery plans. Keep a list of backup vendors in case yours are disabled in the storms. Compile records in case you need to apply for emergency funding (expenses, sales, payroll and tax returns). Business tips from AT&T Here are AT&T’s recommendations for small business owners for before the storm: Set up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up single or multiple hot line numbers for employees, employees’ families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties know about the business situation and emergency plan. For this to be most effective, maintain an updated contact list, including mobile and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees. Protect hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc. Routinely back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment. Prearrange the replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery. Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place plans. Practice these plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup location for your business and meeting place for all employees. Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Be aware that disasters affecting your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business essentials.