Evacuate or not?
When a hurricane threatens your area, you will have to make the decision whether you should evacuate or whether you can ride out the storm in safety at home. If local authorities recommend evacuation, you should leave! Their advice is based on knowledge of the strength of the storm and its potential for destruction. If you live on the coastline or offshore islands, plan to leave. If you live near a river or in a flood plain, plan to leave. If you live on high ground, away from coastal beaches, consider staying.
In any case, the ultimate decision to stay or leave will be yours. Consider the factors involved especially storm surge. Whatever you decide is best for your family, notify others of your plans. Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all family members have a single point of contact. Notify this contact and other family members and friends of your plans.
Check Middle Neck News often and listen to 101-7 BAY FM and 104.9 WIGO for official bulletins.
If a Watch is issued, secure lawn furniture and other loose material outdoors, tape, board, or shutter windows to prevent shattering Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent their lifting from their tracks.
If a Watch is issued , make sure you have at least a three day supply of food and water, make sure you have enough of prescribed medications. Make sure that flashlights and FM radios have fresh batteries, and that all family members know what to do.
Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, and telephones may be cut off for days; or, you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You probably will not have the opportunity to shop or search for the supplies you need. Keep a disaster supplies kit of basic items you may need in the event of a disaster.
Determine whether you live in an evacuation zone and, if so, where you will go if an evacuation order is given. Going to a family or friend’s house or hotel outside the evacuation area is your best choice. If you choose to go out of town, do so well in advance of the storm. Since shelters provide for only basic needs, this should be your choice of last resort.
Inventory your home possessions and videotape, record or photograph items of value. Review your insurance policies before hurricane season starts to ensure you have adequate coverage. Once a hurricane watch has been issued, insurers will not issue new or additional coverage.
Decide where you will store or park your vehicle, boat or RV. Check your vehicle insurance policy and keep it in the same safe place as your homeowner’s policy. Decide what actions you will need to take to protect your home and your property (shutters, generator, tree-trimming), and to keep as comfortable as possible during recovery.
Discuss whether anyone in your home has special needs in an emergency because of a medical condition, or because they are elderly or disabled. Make arrangements in advance to accommodate those needs.
Determine how you will address your pet’s needs and make a plan in case you have to evacuate. Be sure to plan for large outdoor animals as well, such as horses, pigs and cows. Most shelters do not allow pets.
Determine your family’s food, water and medical needs and assemble your hurricane kit according to those needs. As the storm approaches, you will need to buy ice to have on hand in the event of a power outage after the storm.
Let family or friends know what your hurricane plan is so they can check on you in the aftermath of the storm. Establish an out-of-town contact. Check in on elderly or infirmed family members.
Plan in Advance – If you live in an evacuation zone and an evacuation is ordered, you are required by law to evacuate. Public shelters are a refuge of last resort. Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort, and most do not accepts pets, although service animals for the disabled may be accepted at some shelters.
Identify a Safe Room – If you plan to stay at home, identify the safest room in your home This is generally an interior room with no windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Make plans to take shelter in this room in the event of a direct hit.
Stock Your Hurricane Kit – Plan on supplies including food and water that will sustain your family for three to five days, and a two-week supply of medicines. Don’t forget to buy ice just before the storm approaches.
If Evacuating Out of the Area, Leave Early – Plan to leave as early as 48 hours in advance, and no later than the issuance of a Hurricane Watch. Keep in mind that a hurricane’s path is uncertain and you could inadvertently evacuate to an area where the storm may eventually strike. Take along your hurricane kit.
Document Assets – Make a visual or written record of your assets for insurance purposes. Also, photograph the exterior of your home including landscaping or structures that may not be insurable but impact the value of your property. Take these records with you if you evacuate.
Protect Important Papers – Photocopy important papers such as insurance policies and store them with a friend or in a safe deposit box outside of the hurricane area. Or, protect important family and financial documents inside a waterproof container or watertight re-sealable plastic bag. If you evacuate, take these documents with you.
Prepare a Water Supply – Know who your water service provider is so you will know if a “boil water” order applies to your home. Check your water bill if you are unsure. As the storm approaches, fill pre-sanitized sinks and tubs with clean water for bathing and flushing toilets.
Turn refrigerators and freezers to highest settings in anticipation of a power outage.
Get Cash – Banks and ATMs do not operate without electricity.
Charge Phones – Charge your cell phone and wireless phone batteries.