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  • If Disaster Strikes:
  • Remain calm and patient. Put your plan to action.

  • Check for injuries

  • Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.

  • Listen to your battery powered radio for news and instructions

  • Evacuate, if advised to do so. Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.

  • Check for damage in your home.

  • Use flashlights -- do not light matches or turn on electrical switches, if you suspect damage.

  • Check for fire hazards and other household hazards.

  • Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.

  • Shut off any other damaged utilities.

  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately.

  • Remember to:
  • Confine or secure your pets.

  • Call your family contact--do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.

  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons.

  • Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut off.

  • Stay away from downed power lines.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Family Protection Program and the American Red Cross Disaster Education Program are nationwide efforts to help citizens prepare for disasters of all types. For more information on preparing your home and family for disasters, call your local Red Cross or visit the web sites at https://www.redcross.org/ or https://www.fema.gov/.

  • Flood Safety

Floods are one of the most frequent and costly natural disasters - many of which fall on the heels of other disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Rushing waters and debris contribute to most of the damage caused by flooding.

"Floods are among the most devastating natural disasters that many homeowners face, " said Rocky Lopes, Home Safety Council board member and manager of community disaster education for the American Red Cross."Preparedness is the key to ensure your property - and your family - stays intact."

Homeowners are urged to take the following precautions this severe weather season:

  • Before a Flood
  • Develop a family disaster plan. Plan where you would go for safety if a flood required you to leave your home. Involve all family members in this planning process.

  • Create a disaster supplies kit.

  • Protect home heating, water and electricity systems in your home - Have your furnace, water heater and electric panel raised to higher floors or the attic by a professional if these utility systems are in a flood-prone area of the home, like the basement.

  • Listen to the radio or television for updated emergency information - Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or a portable, battery-powered radio to get updated flood information.

  • Have a professional install check valves in building sewer traps - Floodwater can get backed up into the drains of your home. As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs and basins.

  • Fill your bathtubs, sinks and plastic bottles with clean water - Severe floods may interrupt utility services such as water. When floods threaten, it's best to keep drains corked, but be sure to fill sinks and tubs with fresh water first.

  • How To Prepare for Severe Storms and Hurricanes

When a hurricane threatens, your primary concern is for the safety of your family. But your house is important too, and even though you may be evacuating the area, your home requires whatever forms of protection you can provide. The key is to make plans and provisions to protect your home long before a hurricane becomes anything more than an unpleasant possibility. This way, when a storm does threaten, you can concentrate on the safety of your family and know that you've done your best to protect your home.

  • Before the Storm: What Can You Do To Protect Your Home?

Hurricanes pose both wind and flood damage potential, but there are things you can do to greatly reduce the impact on your home. One of your main goals is to prevent the wind from damaging the home in such a way that allows water to enter and do further damage. Make sure your doors and windows are secure. Wind inside your home will push upward against the roof and try to lift it, while winds outside create a suction pressure, almost doubling the roof's load.

Despite the best attempts at protecting your home, however, damage may still occur. Take a look at your insurance policies to make sure you're adequately covered. Keep lists or video tapes of your belongings as documentation for the insurance company.

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