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Preparing for a hurricane

September is a prime month of the hurricane season in the United States, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ready Virginia campaign remind Virginians to prepare for hurricane season by taking three easy steps.

“There are three easy steps all Virginians should take to be ready for hurricane season,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “Make a plan, get a kit and stay informed.”

Develop a family disaster plan and know how to stay safe during a hurricane:

  • Discuss what your family would do prior to a hurricane making landfall including where you might go in an evacuation.
  • When developing your plans, don’t forget about your family’s specific needs, including senior and disabled family members, as well as pets.
  • Establish a family communication plan with a point of contact in another state in case family members are separated.

Put together a disaster kit in a portable kit. In case of an evacuation, your kit should hold essentials including:

  • At least a three-day supply of food and bottled water.
  • A manual can opener.
  • A battery powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries.
  • A first aid kit with any family and pet medications.
  • Hygiene and personal care items.
  • An emergency contact list with phone numbers.
  • Copies of important documents including insurance policies and bank information.
  • Emergency cash or credit cards in case of an evacuation with little notice.

Pay attention to weather forecasts and information from your local emergency officials:

  • Listen for weather watches and warnings.
  • Learn about evacuation routes.
  • Listen for any evacuation orders.

In addition, there are other steps one can take to ensure you are prepared for hurricane season. Purchase flood insurance for both your home and its contents as well as property insurance against strong winds. Renters can also purchase flood insurance for their apartment’s contents. Although flood insurance may be purchased throughout the year, remember there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect.

For more details about how to prepare, visit http://www.ready.gov, or for Virginia-specific information, visit http://www.ReadyVirginia.gov and http://www.ListoVirginia.gov (Spanish).

posted 09.05.2008

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