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- The best way to prepare for a hurricane is to listen to NOAA warnings. Knowing when and where a hurricane will strike will give you precious time to flee or protect yourself. Sometimes, even concrete walls of a building are not enough to ward off a hurricane’s full power. Storm winds can force water into masonry, causing them to weaken and crumble.
- Make sure your car is full of gas.
- Be aware of changing weather conditions around you, especially dark skies, rising winds, and rain.
- Put trash cans, gardening tools, barbecues, toys, outdoor furniture, and any other unconfined objects inside or attach them firmly to the ground.
- If you are near the coast, watch for incoming waves.
- If in the water or a boat, get to land immediately and find shelter from the storm.
- Make sure any water vehicles are securely fastened.
- Keep your ears open for storm warning updates.
- Fortify windows and close windows because hurricane winds can break windows. Try crisscrossing them with tape to make them more shatter-resistant.
- Take care that pets and animals are secure.
- Secure objects inside the house that could fly around.
- Check food, camping, and emergency equipment.
- Move people and valuables to the side away from the wind.
- Have fresh batteries for flashlights and portable radios.
- Store water in plastic bottles, jugs, pots, pans, and bathtubs.
- If you live in an R.V. or mobile home, leave to a designated shelter. Staying in a mobile home or beach house during is hurricane is also very risky, for they can be flattened, blown over, or swept away in floods. Those near shore are at risk from higher-than-normal waves.
- For those choosing to stay in mobile homes during the storm, try tying them down firmly with cables.
- People in low-lying areas need to seek shelter when hurricane warnings are issued. It is best to go to high ground 15 or 20 miles away from the coast, for hurricanes can bring ten-foot-high waves or higher.
- Leash pets or place them in carriers.
- Plan a quick, reliable escape route to safer high ground.
- Stay inside the house if your home is built solidly on high ground.
- Do not try to rescue people or animals during the hurricane.
- Know that the eye of the storm is the calm center and can last from minutes to half an hour. Do not go outside until you hear the all-clear signal. Many of the people who perish in hurricanes are those who venture outside to see the damage, or those who try to swim or ride high ocean waves. During 1967’s Hurricane Beulah, a 15-year-old Texan girl went surfing through the huge waves during the eye. She was drowned when the second part of the hurricane hit.
- Weather the storm inside a basement or storm cellar if you have one.
- If you do not have a basement or storm cellar, stay in the lowest story of the building. Remember to stay away from windows.
- In you are sitting in a wheelchair, set the brake and protect your head.
- If you are outside, find cover and get down.
- If you are driving, stop the car, get out, and find cover.
- Stay away from trees, buildings, windows, and power lines.
- For those living in the city, avoid downtown areas.
- Turn the refrigerator to maximum cold and open it as little as you can.
- Leave a few windows on the side away from the wind slightly open to prevent air pressing from building and blowing out walls.
- Eat the food that will perish most easily first. Don’t use any tap water unless you are sure it isn’t contaminated.
- Never stay outside to watch the storm because its fierce winds are extremely dangerous. You could be struck by flying debris or electrocuted by falling power lines. Huge waves and flood waters can sweep unwary people away.
- Check for injuries and help the wounded if necessary.
- Dress in heavy shoes and clothing.
- If you must drive (avoid it if possible), be careful of debris and collapsible roads. Also watch out for landslides.
- Avoid rivers and streams.
- Turn on your radio or TV for information regarding flood warnings, shelter locations, road conditions, emergency first aid stations, and evacuation routes.
- If you need medical help, go to a Red Cross station.
- Keep out of the way of relief crews and emergency rescue workers.
- Look out for loose electrical wires, and report them to officials.
- Fallen power lines (especially those lying in water!), weakened tree limbs, reptiles, and collapsing structures are still dangers to be cautious of.
- Report broken water mains and sewers to the utility companies.
- Do not go into an unstable-looking house.
- Even after checking for gas leaks, don’t light matches.
- Clean up any spills if possible.
- Do not use phones except for emergencies.
- Keep animals under control.
- If necessary, evacuate.
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