Friday, August 31, 2012

Tips to help you before, during and after a hurricane

Seven years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans, killing almost 1,800 people and causing billions of dollars in damage. This week, Hurricane Isaac — now downgraded to a tropical storm — hit Louisiana and other Gulf states, causing flooding and widespread power outages.

Hurricane Irene from space. Image courtesy

The storms serve as a reminder of the importance of getting ready for a hurricane and staying safe during and after the storm. Hurricane season runs through November, so there may be more U.S. storms still to come this year. Use our tips to get ready:

How to prepare for a hurricane
  1. Build an emergency kit. Start early so that you can avoid the crowds and make sure you have everything you need. The Get Ready campaign can help you put together an emergency kit.
  2. Have an emergency stockpile of food and water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that you have at least three days of supplies ready in case of an emergency. Have at least one gallon of water for each member of your family for each day.
  3. Make a plan. Do you live in an area at risk for flooding? Where are your local evacuation routes? Where will you meet up with your family if you are separated during the storm?Make a plan and be prepared.
What to do during a hurricane
  1. Listen to the weather forecast. (A battery-operated weather radio will help you stay informed if the power goes out!) If you are told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
  2. If you are not told to evacuate or are unable to do so, stay inside. Stay away from windows and glass doors, and if possible stay in an inside room that is on the lowest level of your house.
  3. If phone lines are busy during the storm, check in with friends and family via text messages or social networks.
Stay safe after the storm passes
  1. If you were evacuated from your home, don’t go back until officials tell you that it is safe to do so.
  2. Do not walk, swim or try to drive in floodwaters. As little as six inches of moving water can knock an adult down or cause your car to stall. Check out our fact sheet about driving and disasters for more information about staying safe.
  3. If you are walking around outside, watch out for downed power lines.
  4. Manage power outages safely. Do not run power generators inside — they produce a clear, odorless gas called carbon monoxide that can be deadly. Do not light matches or use candles in your home in case there is a gas leak. And make sure your food is safe by following these tips.
  5. Remember take photos of the damage to your home and property.
  6. Protect yourself when cleaning up after the storm, especially if your home has been flooded. Be sure to wear gloves, wash your hands often and look out for any mold that may grow after the flood. Get more tips about cleaning up after a hurricane with our flood fact sheet.

We hope everyone is staying safe during Hurricane Isaac. Did your area get hit this time? Please share your experience with us in the comments below.

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