GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 29, 2012

Home emergency checklist


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — The Gloucester Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is sharing the following hurricane preparation tips for residents of Gloucester and across Cape Ann.

In addition, the checklist below outlines what you may need, should Gloucester and Cape Ann’s towns be hit with damaging winds and power outages.

Stay informed by monitoring the storm via the media.

Clear clogged rain gutters. This storm brings the potential for torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.

Secure outdoor items such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings that can be broken or picked up by strong winds and potentially become a projectile.

Elevate articles in your basement that could be damaged from even minor flooding.

Keep your vehicles fully fueled.

Have a certain amount of cash available. If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.

Be sure to have a well-stocked Family Disaster Kit in the event you lose power or are isolated for a number of days.

As to that Family Disaster Kit, here’s a checklist as to what it should include:

Cell Phone, charger (there are also emergency crank or battery powered cell phone chargers) and headset so you can talk hands free.

Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day for drinking, plus an additional gallon for teeth brushing, bathing, cooking, etc.).

Battery-powered radio with extra batteries.

Flashlight and batteries.

Keep your vehicle fueled up. Get in the habit of not letting your gas tank get below half full. In an emergency, when it may be difficult or impossible to get fuel, you will be very thankful you have it.

Dry and canned foods and can opener (make sure the canned and packaged foods don’t have too much salt – they will make you more thirsty and with limited water around, that isn’t the best thing).

Disposable eating utensils, dinnerware and cooking tools.

Baby needs, including diapers, wipes and food.

Pet needs, food, water, collar and leash.

Medical supplies, including prescription medications, eyeglasses, contacts, etc.

Toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer and feminine needs.

Trash bags.

Soap and toiletries.

Scissors and tweezers.

Utility knife.

Crow bar.

First Aid Kit —including:

First aid instruction guide

Bandages of various sizes and types

Elastic wrap

Adhesive tape

Finger splints

Eye pads

Sterile dressings

Gauze roll

Examination gloves

Instant cold pack

Burn cream

Antibacterial ointment

Alcohol prep pads

Hydrogen peroxide spray

Comfortable thick soled shoes and socks.

Whistle.

Waterproof matches and emergency candles (do not use if you smell gas or hear a hissing sound).

Duct tape.

Rope.

Emergency blanket.

Work gloves.

Small towel or clean rag.

Bandana or dust mask.

Change of clothes.

Cap or visor.

Pen and paper.

Emergency contact numbers.

Emergency gas shut off tool.

Fire extinguisher.

Road map.

Important personal documents.

Comfort items - especially for children (stuffed animal, toy, cards, etc.)

Backpack to store important items so you can grab and go.

Also — knowing what weather forces your home is vulnerable to is the key to reducing any damage that might occur from Hurricane Sandy. You should know if your home can be damaged by wind, water surge and/or flooding.

There are various ways to secure your home from the weather scenarios that Hurricane Sandy might produce. You should make sure the exterior of your home is as strong as possible by securing doors, garage doors, roof, shutters and windows. For more information on securing your home from high winds, visit: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/retrofit/secure_home.shtml

Do not attempt to move downed limbs until you are sure that there are no electric wires involved and that the cutting the limb will not result in it suddenly moving and possibly causing injury.

Should Cape Ann suffer substantial storm damage, you should be prepared to “shelter in place” for as long as 72 hours. If this is the case, please check on neighbors who may need assistance.

Stay informed of the latest forecast – the National Hurricane Center continues to be the official source for storm forecasts and updates, which you can find at www.hurricanes.gov or on your phone at http://hurricanes.gov/mobile.

Your local National Weather Service forecast office is the best place to find any severe weather watches/warnings for your area ( www.weather.gov or on your phone at http://mobile.weather.gov ).