Monday, August 24, 2015

Be Red Cross Ready - Hurricane and Tropical Storm Safety Guide

Written by: Reed Mszar, intern

Hurricanes are strong storms that cause life- and property- threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds, and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Tropical Storm Danny is making its way through the Eastern Atlantic Basin, and with the potential for more storms to come this summer, here are a few key points that could help you prepare for the worst and clear up some common misconceptions. For more information on Tropical Storm Danny and its current path, follow the attached link: We hope this information helps and that you have a safe remainder of your summer.

Q: What is the difference between a ‘Hurricane Watch’ and a ‘Hurricane Warning’?

A: Hurricane Watch: When hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. One should review emergency plans and keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued.
Hurricane Warning: When hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. One should complete storm preparations and leave area if directed to do so by authorities.

Q: What should I do to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm?

A: To best prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm, one should do the following:
-Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for information from the National Weather Service.
-Check your disaster supplies and restock as needed.
-Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.).
-Close windows and doors. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
-Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in case of power outage.
-Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
-Fill your car’s gas tank.
-Talk with members of your household and create/practice an evacuation plan.
-Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan.

Q: What supplies should I have on hand to prepare for a hurricane?

A: To ensure that you are prepared for the worst, the following items should be on hand:
-Water - at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
-Food - at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
-Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
-Extra batteries
-First aid kit
-Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (cane, contact lenses, etc.)
-Multi-purpose tools
-Personal hygiene items
-Copies of personal documents (medication list, passports, birth certificates, etc.)
-Cell phones with chargers
-Extra cash
-Emergency blanket
-Map(s) of the area
-Baby/pet supplies if applicable
-Extra set of car keys and house keys
-Extra clothing, hats, and sturdy shoes
-Rain gear
-Insect repellant and sunscreen

Q: What should I do following a hurricane?

A: The following is a list of steps one should take in order to safely return home following a hurricane and prevent future dangerous situations:
-Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for updates.
-Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding.
-If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
-Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
-Stay out of any building that has water around it.
-Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage for insurance purposes.
-Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
-Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are positive it’s not contaminated.
-Check refrigerated food for spoilage.
-Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
-Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

Q: Why should I download the free Red Cross hurricane app to my mobile device?

A: The app sends location-based weather alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also includes tips on how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home. The hurricane app also includes a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light, and alarm. A Spanish language toggle switch is available. Download the app by visiting

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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