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Weather the Storm

The recent typhoon in the Philippines is a dramatic reminder that millions of us are vulnerable to destructive storms that cause injuries, deaths, and property damage on a scale that is often hard to comprehend. Here are some tips for preparing yourself and your family for dealing with a damaging storm.

Stock Up

The moment when you are in the crosshairs of an approaching storm is no time to be scurrying around town for necessities. Before the storm hits:

  • Put together an emergency kit, with such items as a whistle, dust masks, flashlights (with batteries), drinking water, basic first aid items, and any needed medications;
  • Fuel up your vehicles and a gas generator;
  • Recharge your cell phones;
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of nonperishable foods;
  • Make sure fire extinguishers have adequate pressure;
  • Inform your local utility and fire department if someone in your home uses special medical equipment; and
  • Keep some cash on hand.

Batten Down the Hatches

To secure your property and valuables as best as time and other circumstances will allow, shut all windows, blinds, shades, and drapes and, over the longer run, consider installing impact-resistant windows or hurricane shutters. To keep them from becoming projectiles, move indoors all outdoor objects that are vulnerable to high winds. Park cars on the highest ground available, but not under trees, and move valuable personal property and important documents to higher floors if flooding is possible.

When the Storm Hits

During a severe storm, stay in a centrally located room in your house that doesn't have windows. If flooding or even significant wetness is an issue, don't use devices you need to plug in, and avoid using landline phones. Skip baths and showers until the storm has passed. Be on the lookout for downed power lines and live wires. And as you hunker down, be glad if you took steps to stock up and otherwise prepare for the storm.

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