2015 Hurricane Season: Before, During and After

Two men board up windows at the building in preparation for a tropical storm in Galveston, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
BEFORE THE STORM, MAKE SURE TO HAVE...

    Car tank filled with gasoline
    Fire extinguisher
    First aid supplies and prescription medications
    Sterno, charcoal, lighter fluid, and matches or a lighter
    Candles and matches
    Flashlight, battery-operated radio and a two-week supply of batteries
    Bottled water, electrolyte drinks and cooler with gel packs
    Hammer, nails, masking tape, plywood and plastic for quick home repairs
    Clean up supplies - pails, mops, brooms and rakes
    Non-perishable food items, eating utensils, plates, cups and a manual can opener
    Protective clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes


MAKE SURE TO...

Write down phone numbers you don't have memorized in case your cell phone dies. We're all spoiled by speed dial
Charge old phones even if they don't have service. Most can still be used to call 911, though they won't have location services
Be creative and fill containers you already have with water so you don't have to buy it
Fill your freezer with containers or Ziploc bags of water. The ice will help the freezer stay cold longer if the power goes out
Clear clogged gutters and drains around your house so water has someplace to go other than inside your home
Check your home for any hazards, such as old trees that could fall
Secure anything in your lawn that could be blown away
Take video or photos for a home inventory
Check your insurance policies
Collect documents and recent pictures of children/elders in case they go missing

DURING THE STORM

    Stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
    Keep supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
    If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.
    Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
    If in a mobile home, check tiedowns and evacuate immediately.
    Store valuables and personal papers in waterproof containers on the highest level of your home.


    *Those choosing to ride out the storm should move valuables to upper floors if possible, fill containers or tubs with several days' worth of drinking water, turn refrigerator to coldest setting and stay indoors on the downwind side of house, away from windows.
    *Beware the eye of the storm. Live power lines, rising water and unstable trees and structures continue to be threats despite the temporary calm.
    *Once the all-clear is sounded, be wary of high water or power lines when driving. Report damaged water, sewer and electrical lines. At home, check for gas leaks and spoiled food or water.

AFTER THE STORM

    Stay in your protected area until announcements are made on the radio or TV that the dangerous winds have passed.

    If you have evacuated, do not return home until officials announce your area is ready. Remember, proof of residency may be required in order to re-enter the evacuation areas.

    Be aware of the surroundings when returning as extreme damage could render a familiar landscape unrecognizable.

    If your home or building has structural damage, do not enter until it is checked by officials.

    Beware of outdoor hazards such as downed power lines and any water they may be lying in, poisonous snakes driven from their dens by high water, weakened bridges, washed out roads, weakened limbs on trees, and/or damaged overhanging structures.

    Do not use the telephone unless absolutely necessary. The system is usually jammed with calls during and after a hurricane.

    Guard against spoiled food. Use dry or canned food. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated with flood waters.

    When cutting up fallen trees, use caution, especially if you use a chain saw. Serious injuries can occur when these powerful machines snap back or when the chain breaks.

    Notify your insurance agent about damage to your house. Take video or still pictures of damaged property. Keep records of your clean up cost.


(Source: National Weather Service Forecast Office)
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