So let’s look at what you should do now so you are prepared for the worst.
- Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local officials for more information. Also understand what it means if you choose to ignore a mandatory evacuation. Most officials will tell you this means they will NOT send help until the storm has passed and it is safe to send in help.
- Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to leave your home.
- If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, have adequate emergency supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
- Create a family emergency communication plan, and share with your family. This should include any children that may be away at school. It’s very important that they know where you will be in case of an emergency.
- Sign up for your community’s emergency alert system if available. Westerly has the “Code Red” alert system; and Stonington utilizes “Stonington Alerts” for all community emergency notifications.
- A major cause of damage is not just the wind and water from the storm, but the impact these forces have on our property. Take the time now to inspect your property for any items that could become airborne during a storm and have a plan where to store them. Look at your trees and remove any branches that appear to be rotted. A controlled removal is far better then a branch taking out your garage or worse your neighbor’s car.
- Check and secure your gutters and downspouts and while you’re at it, clear any debris from the gutters and downspouts to allow water to flow properly.
- You can reduce storm damage by retrofitting your roof, windows and doors. This is a significant investment that could save you a lot of headaches and money in the future.
- If your area historically loses power consider investing in a generator.