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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Friday September 3rd, 2010 :: 03:03 p.m. EDT


Are You Ready For The Next Hurricane? See email for full story.

If you’ve been watching the news lately then you know that Florida residents just dodged a bullet with Hurricane Earl which packed winds over 145mph. And if you lived in Florida in 2004, then you know were not out of the woods just yet. Today’s safety tip is a sure bet to avoid dangerous Hurricanes. Are you ready?

STEP 1 - Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.
STEP 2 - Put these supplies into your car.
STEP 3 - Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Thanksgiving!

LOL! I’m sure the Nebraska Tourism Division loves this plan but for most of us this is not practical. Therefore we need to start planning for our families’ safety today (not tomorrow)! Have you ever stood in an hour long line to get safety supplies with no guarantee any would be left when it came your turn? In case you haven’t – take my word it’s not a fun experience. As time ticks away you can’t help but think to yourself – what was I thinking? A week ago I could have picked up all this stuff at the store of my choice. Today is that day!

As the next storm begins to build in the Atlantic here are some suggestions of how to get prepared in advance:

• Keep a full tank of gas in your vehicles
• Purchase batteries for flashlights – avoid candles which pose a fire hazard.
• Have at least a one week supply of medications on hand.
• Obtain materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
• Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood.
• Review your insurance policy.
• If you have special needs contact your local police department to be placed on the Special Needs contact list. For example: If you have a family member on a life-support system, or confined to a bed who lives alone.
• Portable radio with extra batteries. Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio, including NOAA Weather Radio, will be the best source of emergency information.
• Keep your first-aid kit well stocked and in a central location. Take basic first-aid and CPR courses. Keep your skills current.
• Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires and should be easily accessible. Teach all family members how to use it.
• Food - Store a three-day supply of food for each person. Items such as canned or dehydrated food, powdered milk and canned juices can be rotated into your daily diet and replenished on a regular basis. Include food for infants or the elderly, snack foods and items such as a non-electric can opener, cooking utensils, paper/plastic plates and plastic utensils.
• Water - Store a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store in air-tight containers and replace them every six months. Keep a disinfectant, such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, to purify water, if necessary.
• Extra blankets and clothing may be required to keep warm. Sturdy shoes protect feet from broken glass and debris.
• Alternate cooking source. Store barbecue, charcoal, starter and matches in case utilities are out of service. Do not use these methods of cooking within a confined area.
• Tools - Have a crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water if necessary and know the location of the shut-off valves.
• Important documents should be stored in a waterproof container. Examples: insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. Also, checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards.
• Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane or severe storm. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
• Designate an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members should call to report their whereabouts. Make certain all family members have the phone number.
• Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
• Check around the perimeter of your home and property for potential hazards to see what actions need to be taken to ensure your safety and to protect you and your belongings from flying debris.
• Check your insurance coverage. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Inventory household items with photographs.
• Know where the designated shelters are within your community and how to get to them.
• Teach all family members, including children, how and when to call 911 or your local EMS phone number.
• If winds become strong:
o Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
o Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
o If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first-floor room, such as a bathroom or closet.
o If you are in a multiple-story building and away from the water, go to the first or second floors and take refuge in the halls or other interior rooms away from the windows.
o Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
o Remain indoors during the hurricane. Do not be fooled by the "eye" or the lull that occurs as the storm center moves overhead. The other side of the hurricane "eye" has winds that will rapidly increase and will come from the opposite direction.
Preparing for a hurricane well in advance will not only enhance your families’ safety but reduce a tremendous amount of stress and confusion WHEN a storm arrives. Remember you live in Florida and the key word is when not if a storm arrives!

Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section

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