Just in time for the start of hurricane season June 1, the folks at ReadyVirginia.gov have launched their Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week campaign. Using social media and traditional media, the campaign addresses activities and preparations that can be made to prepare for the 2016 hurricane season. Each day this week, visit ReadyVirginia.gov or the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s (VDEM) social media sites (Twitter and Facebook) to learn more about the following topics:
• Sunday, May 22: Find out your storm surge risk
• Monday, May 23: Pet preparedness
• Tuesday, May 24: Flood insurance
• Wednesday, May 25: People with disabilities, access and functional needs
• Thursday, May 26: Learn the terms – hurricane categories
• Friday, May 27: Stay informed/communications plan
• Saturday, May 28: Evacuation plan – emergency kit
VDEM also provides general suggestions for preparing before, during and after a storm. This article addresses preparations BEFORE a storm.
During a hurricane or tropical storm WATCH (threat of hurricane or tropical storm conditions within 36 hours), monitor local radio or television stations for official emergency information and instructions. Make a plan to evacuate in case you are asked to do so. During evacuations, roadways can get crowded and airports might close.
Verify that vital records are in a safe storage area. Files, records and storage cabinets might be wrapped in plastic for moisture protection. If necessary, temporarily relocate records to a safe storage facility off-site.
Inventory hurricane emergency supplies and restock if necessary.
Clear all desk and table tops of small loose items.
Secure first floor doorways with sandbags, duct tape or heavy plastic to protect interior from possible flooding.
Disconnect all electrical appliances and equipment.
Box or place any loose papers, books, hanging plants, etc., in desk drawers or storage cabinets.
Close and lock all windows. Draw the blinds or drapes.
Secure adequate cash to operate for several days.
If you are advised to evacuate, lock the doors when you leave.
Secure your property. Install hurricane shutters over glass doors and windows or install protective material such as plywood (at least ½ inch thick). Make sure the plywood is flush against the wall and tight – gaps will allow wind to enter.
Tie down or bring indoors any objects that might be blown around by hurricane winds (outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, display racks, signs and any other loose objects that are normally left outside).
Remove all outdoor signs, particularly those that swing or might cause damage during strong winds.
Secure all items that cannot be brought inside.
Remove antennas and loose objects from the roof.
Keep trees and shrubs well-trimmed.
Ensure that all vehicles are serviced and fueled. Determine where they can be stored during the storm.