Prepare For Hurricane Irene : Ways to Stay Informed

Prepare For Hurricane Irene

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  • Go to the grocery store TODAY. Local supplies dwindle quickly leaving the shelves of most stores empty within a couple of days before the arrival of a storm. Stock up and store these items:
  1. Water. You should have on hand at least one gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days, but preferably two weeks.
  2. Non-perishable ready-to-eat foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking and little or no water. Examples: ready-to-eat canned meats and fruits; canned juices; milk; high energy foods including peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix; comfort foods including cookies, hard candy, instant coffee, tea, etc.
  • Special dietary foods.
  • Prescription medication. You should have at least a two-week supply of your medications.
  • Make a PLAN and a LIST. Find out if your are in an evacuation zone. If you are, decide where you will go if you need to evacuate — a relative’s house, a friend’s house or perhaps a hotel. Make a list of articles you will need to take along if you have to evacuate (this includes your disaster supplies kit). If you plan on staying in your home, make a list of what supplies you will need for your disaster supplies kit.
  • Store valuables and documents in waterproof containers. This includes birth certificates and these important documents.
  • Prepare and secure your home. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed loose branches picked up. Buy, cut and prepare plywood for installation to protect windows and glass doors, and wood to brace double-entry garage doors at the top and bottom. If a storm should threaten, clear your yard of lawn furniture, potted plants, bicycles, trash cans, etc. Leave swimming pools filled and super-chlorinated.
  • Pets. Red cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets because of the states’ health and safety regulations and other considerations. Service animals who assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so it is best to plan ahead.
  • Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and securely fastened, up-to-date identification. Attach the phone number and address of a friend or relative outside the disaster area to your pet’s ID tag.
  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
  • Keep a current photo of your pet with you.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended during a hurricane. A secure room, a few days supply of food and water does not mean your pet will be safe.
  • Call ahead to confirm temporary housing arrangements for your pets. Temporary shelters DO NOT allow pets. Some hotels/motels do allow pets, but an additional fee and/or security deposit is necessary and these accommodations fill up
  • Check your disaster supplies kit. Your disaster supplies kit should contain the following:
  1. Flashlights and several sets of batteries for each member of the family.
  2. Portable radio and batteries.
  3. Drinking Water. A supply of one gallon per person, per day for a minimum of three days.
  4. Non-perishable Food. A two-week supply is best.
  5. Special dietary foods.
  6. Non-electric can opener.
  7. Prescription medications. Always keep a two-week supply on hand.
  8. Infant supplies that include sterile water, diapers, ready formula, bottles, etc.
  9. Mosquito repellent.
  10. First aid kit including a first aid book, bandages, antiseptic, tape, compresses, aspirin and nonaspirin pain reliever, antidiarrhea medication and antacid.
  11. Distress flag and/or whistle.
  12. Toilet paper, paper towels and pre-moistened towelettes.
  13. Camera and film.
  14. Coolers. One to keep food and another to transport ice.
  15. Plastic tarp, roofing paper, nails, tools, etc.
  16. Plastic trash bags.
  17. Clean-up supplies including a mop, buckets, towels, disinfectant, etc.
  18. Water purification kit. Tablets, plain chlorine and iodine.
  • If you evacuate take the supplies above and also take:
  1. Personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
  2. Extra clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, etc.
  3. Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, cots or air mattresses, folding chairs or lawn chairs.
  4. Turn off electricity, water and gas.
  5. Lock windows and doors.
  6. Let relatives know where you are going.

Ways to Stay Informed

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards

The National Weather Service (NWS) continuously broadcasts warning, watches, forecasts and non-weather related hazard information on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR). The average range of the

1000+ NWR transmitters is 40 miles, depending on topography. For the best performing NWR receivers, NWS suggests you look at devices certified to

Public Alert™ standards.

These radios meet specific technical standards and come with many features such as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), a battery backup, both audio and visual alarms, selective programming for the types of hazards you want to be warned for, and the ability to activate external alarm devices for people with disabilities. Similar to a smoke detector, an NWR can wake you up in the middle of the night to alert you of a dangerous situation.

Current Storm Information Mobile NHC and NWS Information
National Weather Service: Mobile NHC website in basic HTML:
National Hurricane Center: Mobile NHC website in WAP format:
Central Pacific  Hurricane  Center: Mobile NWS website in basic HTML:
Mobile NWS website in WAP format:
Historical Storm Information
National Climatic Data Center: Other Information
NOAA Coastal Services Center: NHC advisory emails:
CPHC advisory emails:
Emergency/Preparedness Information
Audio Podcasts:
American Red Cross: Geographic Information System Data:
FEMA: NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards:
Hurricane Tracking Charts:


 Family Emergency Plan

Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. You, as well as your family and friends, will most likely not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?

Steps to Take

I Gather information about hazards. Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management office and American Red Cross chapter. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans. Assess your

risks and identify ways to make your home and property more secure.

II Meet with your family to create an emergency plan. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Choose an out of state friend as your family’s point of contact for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.

III Implement your plan.

  1. Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone.
  1. Install safety features in your house, such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  1. Inspect your home for items that can move, fall, break or catch fire and correct them.
  1. Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
  2. Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local emergency number.
  1. Keep enough supplies in your home for at least 3 days. Assemble an emergency supplies kit. Store

these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller emergency supplies kit in the trunk of your car.

An Emergency Supplies Kit Should Include:


At least a 3-day supply of water


One blanket or sleeping


Extra set of car keys
(one gallon per person, bag per person


Credit card and cash
per day)


First-aid kit


Special items for infant, elderly or


At least a 3-day supply of


Battery-powered NWR disabled family members
non-perishable food and a portable radio


Prescription and non-prescription


At least, one change of clothing


Emergency tools medicines
and shoes per person


Flashlight, extra batteries

IV Practice and maintain your plan. Ensure your family knows meeting places, phone numbers and safety rules. Conduct drills. Test your smoke detectors and NWR monthly and change the batteries at least once each year. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions. Replace stored water and food every 6 months.

Safety and preparedness material is online at:

Federal Emergency Management Agency:

American Red Cross:

NOAA National Weather Service:


9 comments on “Prepare For Hurricane Irene : Ways to Stay Informed

  1. Pingback: Unwelcome guest: Hurricane Irene « Saffina Desforges

  2. Pingback: Hurricane Irene – tips to outlast a power outage | Rant & Rave

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