We at MasterShield hope our friends and customers in the Northeast will be spared the double whammy of an earthquake and a hurricane in one week. But as Mean Irene bears down on the eastern US, we found some good tips in our “go bag” for the hurricane that hopefully will never happen to you:
1. Get that bike off the lawn, kids. And any other loose objects (planters, lawn furniture, umbrellas, flamingos) lying around should be brought indoors. Winds from Hurricane Irene are predicted to gust 70-80 miles per hour. Objects flying at that speed could turn into lethal weapons.
2. Alternate side-of-the-drive parking. We really hope your trees don’t fall, but worst-case scenario – move your car out of the potential path of a mighty oak.
3. And speaking of cars, make sure your garage door is properly secured. It’s a vulnerable entry point often overlooked. If the garage door fails, wind can enter your house and blow out walls, ceilings, and roofs.
4. Windows are weaker than walls. If you don’t have storm shutters, strips of plywood can used to secure your windows.
5. Gutters are another weak point in your home’s defenses. It’s crucial to make sure you clean debris out of the gutters before the storm hits. Water that floods from your clogged overflowing gutters has a fatal attraction to your foundation and then your basement. Often basement window wells fill to the rim causing water to pour into your basement. Water can also be forced inwards into ceilings, insulation and walls, causing thousands of dollars of damage. While your clean your gutters, make sure that your downspouts extend at least 5 feet from your home so this water doesn’t leach into your basement as well.
6. If your house has a drain near the basement it’s also a good idea to make sure the drain is clear of debris like twigs and leaves that might obstruct water flow.
7. Should I stay or should I go-go? Sign up for text or email alerts from local authorities in case mandatory evacuations are ordered. Where is your nearest shelter? Can you stay with family in a safer area? If you decide to leave, go earlier than you think you need to. Everyone else will.
8. Stock up with staples. When hurricanes are forecast, it’s a toss-up which your local supermarket will sell out of first–batteries, milk or bread. Flashlights, canned goods, bottled water, a radio (hand-cranked if possible), a hand can-opener, duct tape and tarps (for unexpected leaks) are all good to have in the house. If your neighbor didn’t stock up and wants to borrow a cup of batteries – well, that’s your call.
9. If you lose power, remember food in the freezer may last for a couple of days if you don’t open the door. Perishables in the refrigerator should be eaten quickly or thrown out. Time to invent new “hurricane combos” – who knew hummus and lime yogurt went so well together?
10. Don’t forget Fido. Stock up on their food and any medicines. Have carrier baskets on hand in case pets need to be evacuated.
11. We know you’re smart enough to have a “go bag.” One you can literally grab as you head out the door. A “go bag” can also be used as a supply back-up if you are riding out the storm. Documents like passports, insurance policies, etc, should be in a secure waterproof container, ditto any medications. A three-day supply of food and bottled water, batteries and flashlights, games for kids (seriously! have you considered how they would get through three days without TV)?
12. Stay healthy. Double up on your first aid prep. We mean a kit in the house and one in the car. Make sure it includes antibiotic and burn ointments, dressings, painkillers, latex gloves, sterile dressings and bandages, and any medications anyone in the family takes. These items don’t take up much space. So much better to have them and not need them than the other way around.
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst!