While Connecticut isn’t an area known for hurricanes, the storms that have left our southern neighbors in serious need of help had me thinking about how we should prepare our homes and families in the unlikely case that a major storm hits.
The Atlantic region hurricane season runs from June 1st through the end of November, so being prepared is still essential even as fall settles in. According to the National Weather Service, 12 tropical storms form in the Atlantic every season and half gain enough momentum to be categorized as a hurricane. Once a hurricane hits, there are three main risks that we face in our area: coastal flooding from storm surge, wind damage, and inland river flooding due to heavy rains. If Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Jose have taught us anything, it’s to be prepared. According to the state’s official emergency guide, every household should have the following list of items readily available and easily accessible in their homes:
One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
A whistle to signal for help
Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
A manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Food and litter requirements for any pets
Medicine or any special need items, including diapers for infants
In addition to a safety kit, it’s also vital to sit down with your family and create a plan of action in the event that a storm does hit. Here are the most important topics to cover:
Choose a safe place in your home where you can go if there is an emergency. Rooms with no windows are generally best.
Choose two exit routes out of your home in case you have to leave.
Pick two places for your family to meet in case you get separated. It’s a good idea to choose one place in your neighborhood and one place outside of your neighborhood.
Write down the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of two emergency contacts that anyone in your family can contact in case you get separated. Choose one person in the state and one person out of the state.
Have arrangements for a place that you can stay for a few days in case you can’t make it back to your home.
Make a plan to keep your pets safe and have supplies ready for them.
Know how to shut off all vital utilities in your home including gas, electricity, and water in case you are asked to do so.
Make sure everyone knows the plan.
Too many of us decide to make storm preparation a priority when it’s too late. Visit the state’s Emergency Preparedness Resource Center at www.CT.gov to access all the information you need to keep your family safe and do yourself a favor - don’t wait.
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.