Hurricane Irene Advisory and Preparedness Tips


8/24/2011

Massachusetts emergency management officials are preparing for the likelihood of Hurricane Irene potentially impacting the state with high winds and heavy rain.

“Every home and business should have a stocked basic emergency supply kit that could be used for any emergency, regardless of the time of year,” states Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Kurt Schwartz. “Everyone should keep certain items around the house and workplace in the event you are isolated for three to five days without power”

Each kit will be unique to each family, but should include the essentials: a portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries, a supply of non-perishable foods, along with bottled water, a first aid kit, and extra prescription medication, if necessary.

All families should develop a ‘Family Emergency Communication Plan’ to help ensure everyone is safe.

Develop a Disaster Supply Kit ‘Go Bag’ with essentials in case you must evacuate quickly.

How Cambridge Residents Can Prepare
• Have your emergency supplies ready, including food, water, flashlights.
• Review your family emergency plan with everyone in your household. 
• If your property is prone to flooding, have your sump pump(s) ready.
• Make sure your cell phones are charged. If cell phone lines are jammed after the storm, you may be able to send text messages.
• Bring inside (or secure) any outdoor items that might get airborne during high winds.

How Cambridge Businesses Can Prepare
Some tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA):
• As storms approach, remember to bring in display racks and other objects, such as trashcans that might cause damage if airborne.  Remove outdoor signs, especially those that swing or are portable.
• Move merchandise, equipment or furniture away from windows or skylights. Elevate boxes or equipment, if possible.
• Turn off electricity and disconnect all electrical appliances and equipment (except for refrigeration equipment), in case there is a power outage.  An ensuing power surge, once power is restored, could be damaging to connected equipment.
• Inform all employees on when and how you will notify them to report back to work.
• For more tips, see Hurricane Safety Tips for Business Owners (MEMA).

More Safety & Preparedness Tips
Hurricane & Tropical Storm Preparedness Guide (PDF)
Comprehensive hurricane information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)
Hurricane & Tropical Storm Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Hurricane Safety Information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Power Outage Safety Tips

Hurricane News & Forecasts
National Weather Service
National Hurricane Center
The Weather Channel

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Hurricane Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Follow MEMA updates on Facebook and Twitter.

The items below are listed as a convenience but can also be accessed through the emergency supplies or family emegency plan links

1. SUGGESTED ALL HAZARDS DISASTER SUPPLIES

 Canned goods and nonperishable foods, particularly those that do not need cooking:
• Canned meats and fish
• Canned fruits and vegetables
• Canned soups and puddings
• Canned fruit juices
• Dried fruit and nuts
• Bread, cookies and crackers
• Peanut butter and jelly
• Coffee and tea
 Manual can opener
 Bottled water (1 gallon per person/per day)
 Prescription medication (2-week supply)
 Extra eyeglasses
 Pet food/supplies
 Water purification tablets (halazone)
 Disposable plates, cups and utensils
 Infant care items:
• Disposable diapers
• Baby wipes
• Baby food
• Formula
 First aid supplies
 Masking and duct tape
 Flashlight or lantern, with extra batteries
 Battery operated radio, with extra batteries
 Cell phone with charger
 Watch or battery operated clock
 Ice chest
 Matches
 Canned heat (sterno)
 Portable outdoor camping stove or grill with fuel supply
 A certain amount of cash
 Important documents (Such as wills, deeds, prescriptions, passports, birth certificates, health record, proof of address, Social Security number)
 Emergency generator
 Plastic trash bags
 Plastic sheeting or tarp
 Chlorinated bleach
 Personal hygiene items
 Other useful items:
• Work gloves
• Sun lotion
• Insect repellent
• Hammer
• Screwdriver
• Pliers
• Wrenches
• Handsaw
• Razor knife
• Ax or chainsaw
• Rope caulking
• Nails and screws
• Rope and wire
• Broom, mop and bucket
• All-purpose cleaner
• Ladder
• Sandbags
• Tree pruner
• Shovel, rake and wheelbarrow
• Sheets of plywood

2. FAMILY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

Develop a Family Emergency Communications Plan in case family members are separated from one another during an emergency (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school, camp or at a friend’s house). This plan should also address reunification after the immediate crisis passes.

 Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the Family Emergency Communications Plan contact person.  During and immediately after a disaster occurs, it is often easier to access a long distance telephone number than a local one. Also, calling outside a disaster area is usually easier than calling into the same area.

 Make sure everyone knows the name, address and telephone number of the Family Emergency Communications Plan contact person.

 Designate two meeting areas for family members – one within your community (your primary location), and one outside of your community (your alternate location). Sometimes an emergency could impact your neighborhood or small section of the community, so a second location outside of your community would be more accessible to all family members.

A Family Emergency Communications Plan can help reassure everyone’s safety and minimize the stress associated with emergencies.

3. STAY INFORMED

Educate yourself and family about emergency plans for your community, place of business, your child’s school and camp.  Know what potential risks your community and neighborhood are susceptible to in a hurricane, such as storm surge, flooding, road or bridge closures, etc. Carefully monitor the Media and promptly follow instructions from Public Safety officials as a storm approaches.

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