With Hurricane Irene heading up the coast, it's a great time to be sure that you and your family are ready for a tropical storm. Projections currently are that Irene could impact Florida sometime Thursday. So, now would be a good time to get ready for those heavy winds and rain.
Remember, it's not always whether a tropical storm becomes a hurricane. The rain and tornadoes that come with a storm can cause serious damage. During Tropical Storm Fay a few years back, winds never reached hurricane strength. But, Melbourne had 30+ inches of rain in 24 hours and many homes and businesses were underwater. Many were forced from their homes.
So, start preparing for Irene now.
Be sure that trees are cut back, away from the house. Pick up loose limbs.
Clean gutters of debris.
Pick up loose items around the exterior of the house, including lawn furniture and trash cans.
Take pictures or a video of all of your valuables. Document all items and be sure to write down the make, model and serial numbers of your items. Store those photos or the videotape in a place other than your home.
Pick up extra supplies: tarps, duck tape, flashlights, flashlight batteries, batteries, camera batteries and extra SD card, transistor radio, candles and matches, first aid kit, canned foods, manual can opener, heavy duty large trash bags, ziploc bags, snack foods, bottled water, juices, soda.
In the next days if Irene looks like it's getting closer to Florida and strengtening, then:
Set up an emergency plan with your family, in case any of you get separated. Figure out a meeting place.
Contact your out of state relatives, ahead of time, and let them know what your plan will be in contacting them during and after the storm to let them know you are safe..
Make a decision if you and your family will be evacuating.
Be sure you have a plan for your pets. Many shelters will not allow pets. So, plan ahead.
If you live in a condominum complex, check with the association to see if they have any guidelines in place in the event of a storm.
Unplug small appliances.
Gather prescription drugs.
Dust off those storm shutters and put them on your house or condo.
Pull out that generator, and crank it up to be sure it's running. Put it in a place where it's accessible in the event you lose electricity. Be sure you have extra gas for it.
Fill your bathtubs with water.
Fill plastic containers with water and put them in your freezer to make blocks of ice. Make extra ice cubes.
Take food coolers out and fill them with ice.
Turn the temperature up on your freezer and refrigerator.
Fill your gas tank up on your car.
Fill up extra gas cans, if you have them.
Be sure your cell phone is charged.
Go to the bank and pull out extra cash.
Lower the water level on your swimming pool.
Tie down those boats.
Pull those electronics up off the floor, in case of flooding. Wrap them in heavy plastic bags.
Put all of your important papers in plastic tubs. And, put them in a place where you can quickly grab them if you'll need to evacuate.
Check with your neighbors to see what their plans are during the storm. Be sure to double check with the elderly ones, so you know they have a plan.
For more info in preparing for a Florida Storm be sure to visit the National Hurricane Center.
Even if Irene has little impact on the State of Florida, it's a great idea to know what to do in the future with an impending storm.
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