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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

How to Get Ready For the Next Big Storm

comments (0) August 26th, 2011 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

Theres nothing you can do to stop a flood, but there are many steps you can take to help keep your family safe in a severe storm.
Projected path, Hurricane Irene
Theres nothing you can do to stop a flood, but there are many steps you can take to help keep your family safe in a severe storm.Click To Enlarge

There's nothing you can do to stop a flood, but there are many steps you can take to help keep your family safe in a severe storm.

Photo: Michelle Gervais (Hurricane Irene floods New Milford, CT)

Hurricane Irene has finally passed, leaving a path of severe damage from the Carolinas to Canada. Surprisingly, even after Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm, some of the hardest hit towns were in Upstate New York and Northern New England.

Be prepared for the next big storm

Steps taken in advance of a storm will help to minimize damage. When a hurricane passes, many thousands of homeowners will no doubt be facing repairs to their homes. Here's where we can use lessons Hurricane Andrew taught us nearly 20 years ago and documented by Fine Homebuilding's Charles Miller.

Act now to reduce severity of storm damage

First and foremost, take steps to protect yourself and your family from harm.

If you're in an evacuation zone, heed warnings from public-safety officials. Don't be a hero.

In areas where the storm is expected to strike, make sure flashlights and battery-operated radios are working and close at hand. Draw water in a tub for emergency use. Don't forget your neighbors. If there are elderly or physically handicapped people living nearby, check on them. If you have a generator, make sure you have enough fuel for a couple of days, and start it now to make sure it works.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety recommends that businesses and homeowners take a number of precautions before a storm hits. It's already too late in areas where evacuation orders have been issued, but if there's time, the institute makes these recommendations:

  • Cover doors and windows with shutters (if you have them on hand) or plywood (if you don't). Blocking openings prevents pressure imbalances, which can lead to roof failure, while keeping broken glass and wind-driven rain out of the house.
  • Seal gaps around water pipes, gas lines, air-conditioning lines, and other building penetrations where water could seep in.
  • Get lawn furniture, lightweight yard structures, and other loose objects under cover, where they can't become airborne missiles.

You also might want to check Fine Homebuilding's Forums for some ideas on prestorm preparations from those who've been through this before.

Because garage doors are so wide, they present unique challenges. For ideas on how to strengthen them, check this thread.

If you have a smart phone, there are a number of apps that may be useful. This comes from the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger:

Android and iPhone:

• The iHurricane HD (free)
• The Weather Channel app (free)
• iMap Weather Radio ($9.99)

Disaster-readiness apps provide how-to guides for stocking your shelves, gathering supplies, and creating a customized escape plan depending on the situation. Topics include ways to recharge your phone when there is no electricity to methods of purifying water. The apps also provide offline access to resources in the event that internet access is unavailable.

• Disaster Readiness (99¢)
• Disaster Survival Guide ($1.36)
• Are You Ready? (free)

• Emergency Supply List (99¢)
• Disaster Readiness ($1.99)
• iEmergency (99¢)

posted in: Blogs, safety, hurricane
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