Friday, August 26, 2011

How to prepare for a hurricane (or other emergencies)

CNN reported that New York is ordering first mandatory evacuations in city history. Hurricane Irene will parallel the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts Friday as it approaches a Saturday landfall in North Carolina.

Officials in counties and cities along much of the East Coast also ordered evacuations. It is forecasted that millions of dollars could potentially be lost in damages.

Below are static images of satellite view and projected path of Hurricane Irene from CNN.

An earthquake can be the scariest natural disaster to encounter because you don't know it is coming. Tuesday's earthquake on the U.S. East Coast caught everyone by surprise. It shows what can happen when a big event happens with no warning.

As for hurricanes, with all the sophisticated equipment, we have an idea days in advance when it will hit land and preparations can be made to protect yourself and your family. Below are pictures of measures people are taking in preparation of the approaching Hurricane Irene. For us who have no experience at all with hurricanes, these preparations for such an emergency are eye-opening especially the act of boarding up the home.

Home Depot employees load up emergency generators for Virginia Beach residents in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. Hurricane Irene is expected to hit the area Saturday.

Shoppers stock up on bottled water at a Stop and Shop in Rockaway Beach, New York

Fen Rascoe boards up his parent's cottage as they prepare for Hurricane Irene in Nags Head, North Carolina. Dare County, which includes Nags Head, has ordered a mandatory evacuation of an estimated 150,000 tourists effective this morning, and has given residents of the town until Friday to evacuate.

A sign declares a mandatory evacuation in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Irene as motorists head north on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Ismael Ramirez and his brother Jorge work on boarding up a home for a New Jersey Shore resident in preparation for Hurricane Irene. Gov. Chris Christie asked New Jersey shore visitors to get out by midday Friday, with flooding from Hurricane Irene a threat across the entire state.

Jeremy Pickett and Thad Midgett board the windows of a store in preparation for the hurricane.

Jim Abel and Barbara Abel shop for hurricane supplies at Home Depot to prepare for Hurricane Irene.

More images from

CNN has this useful article on How to prepare for a hurricane which could probably apply to other emergencies besides a hurricane.

Some tips:

Have a portable disaster supply kit – It's important to gather some things before a storm, because supplies may be gone after the storm hits. This to-go bag should be portable, and it should contain:

–Bottled water
–Blankets and pillows
–First-aid kit and any medicine you need
–Flashlight and extra batteries
–Radio or NOAA weather radio
–Cash (ATMs may not be available for several days)
–Pet care items

Have a plan

–Know if your home is vulnerable to storm surges, flooding and wind.
–Have a safe room/area. The safest area may not be in your home, but may be a shelter in your community.
–Know the route away from danger. Some communities have hurricane evacuation zones. Have a primary and alternative route.
–Plan places where your family can meet in and out of your neighborhood
–Have an emergency contact who everyone in your family knows and can contact.
–Secure your home. Forget about taping your windows (This will not stop any objects hurled through the air by 90 mph winds). Have plywood custom-cut to fit your windows and pre-drill holes in the plywood for screws. Custom shutters can also be made ahead of time. Also, remove all dead or loose limbs from trees and shrubs on your property.

Stay informed (applicable in the U.S.)

–CNN Hurricane tracker (
–Local television and radio stations
–National Hurricane Center: Website / mobile site / Twitter
–Your local National Weather Service forecast office
–FEMA: Website / Twitter
–The American Red Cross Online Disaster Newsroom
–Ready America

Check out Comments for more tips from people who have experience with similar disasters.

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