Where Do You Stand?

Ask your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter about the history of hurricanes in your area. Ask for information about protecting your family and home. Ask your emergency management office, building department or floodplain management office to see a flood map of your community. There may be a projected flood elevation for your neighborhood.
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What Is Storm Surge?

Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the average water level 15 feet or more. Storm surge is the greatest threat to property and life along the affected coast.
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What Is Wet Floodproofing?

This procedure makes uninhabited parts of your home resistant to flood damage when water is allowed to enter during flooding. An example of wet floodproofing is to install flood vents, creating permanent openings in the foundation walls. This retrofit requires at least two vents on different walls. The size of the vents must be 1 square inch per square feet of enclosed floor area. For example, a 1,000 square foot house would require 7 square feet of flood vents. The advantage of wet floodproofing are that it is less costly than other retrofits, no additional land is required and it does not affect the appearance of the house.
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Bring Outdoor Items In

If you have furniture and other outdoor equipment on your patio or deck, bring them inside when strong weather threatens. Don't forget trash cans, grills, toys, and potted plants. Keep them from becoming flying objects that can cause additional injury or damage during storms with high winds.
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Potential Hazards

During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury or damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a home hazard. For example a bookcase can fall and cause serious injury. Inspect your home at least once a year and fix potential hazards.
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Flood Warnings — Understand Them

Flood Watch - Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated WATCH area. Be alert.

Flood Warning - Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent. Take necessary precautions at once.

Stream Advisory - Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains, is occurring.

Flood Statement - Follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.
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Falling Tools

If you have a step ladder that is tall enough so you can't see the top when standing beside it, be extra cautious about tool placement. Leaving a tool like a hammer on top is easy to forget. When you move the ladder, it could slide off and drop on you. The best bet is to use a tool belt to carry unused tools, either strapped to your waist or tied around the upper part of the ladder.
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Power Outage Safety

Include power outages in your family disaster plan, identifying alternate means of transportation and routes to home, school, or work.

Keep extra cash on hand since an extended power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money from automatic teller machines or banks.

Keep a supply of non-perishable foods, medicine, baby supplies, and pet food as appropriate on hand. Also be sure to have at least one gallon of water per person per day on hand.

Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no more than 4-6 hours.

Have one or more coolers for cold food storage, in case power outage is prolonged. Perishable foods should not be stored for more than two hours above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Have an emergency power supply for anyone dependent on medical equipment requiring electricity.

Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries, and a battery-powered radio on hand.

Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard.

Connect only individual appliances to portable generators and never plug a generator into wall outlets.

Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.

When driving, be careful at intersections - traffic lights may be out, creating a dangerous situation.

Turn off any electrical equipment that was in use prior to the power.

Turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.

Check on elderly neighbors, friends, or relatives who may need assistance if weather is severe during the outage.

During a power outage, resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for information --that's what your battery-powered radio is for.

Don't plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home's electrical system - as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

Keep your car fuel tank at least half-full, gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a sharp increase in demand.
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Hammer Safety

A hammer is one of the most common tools around. However simple it is to use, certain safety precautions should always be taken when using this striking tool. Put on a pair of safety goggles. They'll protect your eyes from any flying projectiles. The purpose of most hammers is to drive and remove nails. Using it for any other purpose will ultimately result in something bad. Only use the hammer's head to strike an object, never the side, or handle. Improper use is the leading cause for a hammer breaking. Never use a hammer that has a damaged or cracked handle or chipped head.
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If You Evacuate

Evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so. Listen to your battery-powered radio and follow the instructions of local emergency officials. Wear warm, dry clothing and sturdy shoes. Be sure to take your disaster supplies kit with you to a shelter or safe location. Use travel routes specified by local authorities—don't use shortcuts.

Before You Go - If you have the time: Turn off water, gas and electricity before leaving. Post a note telling when you left and where you are going. Don't forget about your pets and be sure to lock your home.
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