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A guide to being prepared: Before, During and After the Storm A storm is heading this way! Are you prepared?
A guide to being prepared: Before, During and After the Storm
A storm is heading this way! Are you prepared?  Here are some tips to help you:
Before the Storm
  • Know the flood warning procedures of your City/Town and Palm Beach County.
  • Know the locations of local shelters and specifically shelters for pets and special-need populations.
  • Have emergency cash on hand.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation with your family.  Visit the Red Cross website at:  www.redcross.org to get a copy of the brochure, your family Disaster Plan.
  • Upon the advice of the Sheriff’s Department of the Fire Department, turn off all circuit breakers at the fuse panel and disconnect electrical appliances and all other electrical equipment.  If instructed to do so, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves and shut off the gas valves.
  • Move all outside furniture, plants, toys, etc. inside to a secure location to prevent them from becoming dangerous flying objects that will cause damage.
  • Take photos and/or videos of important possessions.
  • If you must evacuate, secure your home.  Move essential items to a higher level or upper floor.
  • Ask an out-of-state friend or relative to be the “family contact” in case your family is separated during a flood.  Make sure everyone in your family knows the name, address, and phone number of this contact person.
  • Make sure you have emergency supplies (water, battery operated radio, medicines, pet supplies, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, food, blankets, etc.) for each family member to last at least 3-7 days.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
  • Pay your bills before the storm, as the internet may be down and/or the post office may not be able to pick up or deliver mail after the storm.
  • Charge cell phones, and have a call phone charger handy, also have a corded, non-electric phone handy for land-line use.
  • Fill-up all vehicles with gasoline prior to pending storm.
During the Storm:
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet.
  • If you do not have to evacuate STAY INSIDE and keep your children inside.
  • If the waters start to rise and enter your house before you can evacuate, retreat to the second floor, attic, and if necessary, the roof.
After the Storm:
  • Call your flood insurance company and file a claim.  If you are unable to stay in your home, make sure to tell them where and how you can be reached.
  • Do not walk through flowing water.  Use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there is you have to walk through flooded area.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area.  More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.  Do not drive around the road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.  The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution.  Electrical current travels through water.  Report downed power lines by calling 911.
  • Flooding can cause familiar places to change.  Flood debris may hide animals, red ants, snakes, broken glass, and toxic water as well as being slippery.
  • Always be alert for gas leaks.  Use a flashlight to inspect for damage.  Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
  • Use flashlights for lighting when the power goes off.  Do not use candles or any other type of open flame.  The Fire Department may be unable to respond during a hurricane.
  • Clean everything that got wet.  Flood waters have picked up sewage, farm and landscaping chemicals, toxins from factories and roads, etc.  Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics, and medicine can be health hazards.  When in doubt throw it out.
  • Carbon monoxide exhaust kills.  Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machine outdoors.  The same goes for camping stoves.  Charcoal fumes are especially deadly so cook with charcoal outdoors.
  • Take good care of yourself.  Recovering from a flood or hurricane is a big job.  It is tough on both the body and the spirit and the effects a disaster has on you and your family may last a long time.  Keep your eyes open for signs of anxiety, stress, and fatigue in you and your family.