January 01, 1900

Preparing at home and at work

Just as the time to meet the fire chief is not when the building is on fire, planning for a hurricane should not wait until it's on your doorstep. Your emergency plan should include a communication system, disaster supply kit, and an alternate meeting place if your home is unsafe.

District SAVE committees and college health and safety committees should be planning now for possible hurricane disaster. Working with county emergency management personnel will ensure good coordination among responding agencies. Emergency plans must be comprehensive enough to cover multiple hazards. Planning and conducting exercises in advance is critical to successfully come through a variety of emergencies. Issues unique to hurricane and other weather emergencies can be campus closure, faculty/staff injury, destruction of property and extended interruption of instruction.

Home survival kits should contain information and supplies for your home and to take with you to an emergency evacuation shelter. For the home, assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit that includes the following items:

  • First aid kit and essential medications
  • Canned food and can opener
  • At least three gallons of water per person
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)

For a Grab-N-Go kit in case you are evacuated, FEMA and Red Cross recommend you take these items with you:

  • Prescription medications and medical supplies
  • Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
  • Bottled water, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight
  • Car keys and maps

Documents including driver's license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.

To prepare for high winds, install hurricane shutters or purchase precut 1/2" outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so you can put it up quickly. Make trees more wind-resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Secure patio furniture.

The Red Cross has an excellent Hurricane Evacuation Checklist on its Web site at www.redcross.org/news/ds/hurricanes/evacuationchecklist.html.

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