Hurricane season for the Atlantic Coast begins June 1 and continues until November 30. Now is the time to make a plan, stock up on supplies and emergency equipment. Remember that old saying your mother used, "It's better to be safe than sorry?” Well, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management agrees. A hurricane is a severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico or eastern Pacific Ocean.
Preparing for Hurricanes:
- Verify that vital records are in a safe storage area. Files, records and storage cabinets might be wrapped in plastic for moisture protection. If necessary, temporarily relocate records to a safe storage facility off-site.
- Inventory hurricane emergency supplies and restock if necessary.
- Clear all desk and table tops of small loose items.
- Secure first floor doorways with sandbags, duct tape or heavy plastic to protect interior from possible flooding.
- Disconnect all electrical appliances and equipment.
- Box or place any loose papers, books, hanging plants, etc., in desk drawers or storage cabinets.
- Close and lock all windows. Draw the blinds or drapes.
- Secure adequate cash to operate for several days.
- Secure your property. Install hurricane shutters over glass doors and windows or install protective material such as plywood (at least ½ inch thick). Make sure the plywood is flush against the wall and tight – gaps will allow wind to enter.
- Tie down or bring indoors any objects that might be blown around and can’t be brought inside.
- Remove all outdoor signs, particularly those that swing or might cause damage during strong winds.
- Remove antennas and loose objects from the roof.
- Ensure that all vehicles are serviced and fueled. Determine where they can be stored during the storm.
If you are not advised to evacuate, stay inside, away from windows, skylights and doors, even if they are covered.
- Close all interior doors. Closed doors will help prevent damaging hurricane winds from entering rooms.
- Have a flashlight and extra batteries within reach. Flashlights provide the safest emergency lighting source.
- If power is lost, turn off major equipment to reduce the power surge when electricity is restored.
- Stay out of flood waters, if possible. The water might be contaminated or electrically charged. If you find yourself trapped in your vehicle in rising water, get out immediately and seek higher ground.
- Be alert for tornadoes and flooding. If you see a funnel cloud or if local authorities issue a tornado warning, take shelter underground, if possible, or in an interior room away from windows. If waters are rising quickly or local authorities issue a flood or flash flood warning, seek higher ground.
For more information on hurricane preparedness and other types of emergencies, visit ReadyVirginia.gov.
*Source: The Virginia Department of Emergency Management