According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Services, there are three simple, low-cost steps that Virginians can take to prepare for an Tropical Storm or Hurricane:
Make an emergency supply kit. A kit includes, among other things, essential items to last at least three days, such as a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, food and water, flashlights, a first aid kit and medications.
Create a communications plan. Discuss what your family would do during an actual emergency. Decide on a meeting place if your family cannot return home, designate an out-of-town friend or relative as a point-of-contact and plan for the specific needs of your household, such as an evacuation shelter for pets or transportation for medical equipment.
Listen for the most local, up-to-date information from emergency officials. Local media will give details about evacuation orders, how to safely stay where you are and when the emergency has passed.
Are You Prepared?
The 2012 hurricane season is expected to be less active compared to recent years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts 9-15 tropical storms, 4-8 hurricanes, and 1-3 major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater from now until September. The eastern part of Virginia is especially at risk for a major storm, although the impacts from high winds and flooding can affect any part of the state.
The best way to protect yourself against the damage caused by hurricanes is to stay informed and be prepared.
Your survival kit should include the following items:
- Food that won't spoil, such as pre-packaged or canned foods (At least enough for 3-7 days)
- Water (One gallon per person per day)
- A written family emergency plan that includes the name and number of an out-of town contact (Be sure everyone in your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone/coins/or a prepaid phone card to call the out-of-town contact, in case you're separated during an emergency)
- A Virginia Evacuation Guide ( visit www.virginiadot.org/travel/hurricane.asp for a free copy)
- Blankets, sheets, and pillows
- A working battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- Change of clothing and sturdy shoes
- First-aid kit along with any prescription medications
- A whistle to signal for help
- Non-electric can opener
- Cash (Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods)
- Sanitation supplies including toilet paper, wet wipes, personal hygiene items, and garbage bags
- Important documents including forms of ID, insurance information, and bank account numbers (Use a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag to store)
- Tool kit
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
Don't forget about your pets! During a hurricane evacuation, pets are often abandoned and forced to weather the storm on their own. Don't leave yours behind! Make sure your survival kit also includes supplies for your four-legged, winged, or slithering family member.