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Help Before Hurricanes Hit

Hurricane Floyd appears to be heading for the Florida coast, and then may head north up the Eastern Seaboard. CBS Station WFOR-TV says there are many precautions that coastal residents can take to prepare for the severe weather.

If you're in South Florida now:

  • Do not count on driving north on the Turnpike or I-95. The risk is too high that you will get stuck in your car in a traffic jam, or in a shelter somewhere you don't want to be. There is no guarantee that the storm will not turn north and follow you, and you will likely be in a weaker building than if you had stayed in South Florida.
  • Plan on staying in South Florida.

If you are further up the coast:
  • Do not count on going to the airport and flying out. If the hurricane moves quickly or develops suddenly, there will be no planes available.
  • Decide where you will park your car(s). A garage is best, right next to the house is second best. Plan to move your boat early. People die in every hurricane trying to save their boat. Do not let that happen to you.
  • Decide now who will be responsible for your water supply. You do not need bottled water from the supermarket. Have containers on hand to hold tap water. You'll need enough for drinking, bathing, and to flush the toilet. The bathtub is a good place to hold non-drinking water. Use caulking to seal the drain. Sterilize your containers for drinking water with a little bleach (non-flavored) and water. Slosh it around, rinse the container, and fill it from the tap. Do not end up in line for water after a hurricane.

In general:
  • Decide now where you and your family will go when the next hurricane threatens. Decide on a specific place. The protected house of a friend outside of the evacuation zone is best; a shelter is a last resort. It is not recommended that you stay in any structure without good shutters or properly designed and installed hurricane protection during any hurricane.
  • Plan now how you are going to protect your property. Learn about shutters and other alternatives for protecting your house or apartment. If you have doubts about the safety of your house, have it evaluated by an engineer. Most coastal houses can be strengthened fairly easily. Have a family plan and rehearse it. Do not wait until the hurricane is approaching to decide who is going to be responsible for which task to prepare your home.
  • Whether you have a house, apartment, cars, a boat, business or other property, it all needs to be included in your hurricane plan. And remember the rule: Any personal hurricane plan that takes over 12 hours to complete is not a plan.

[For the latest news about Hurricane Floyd, click here.]
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