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Hurricane Memo

WEATHERING THE STORM

Given the possibility that Hurricane Sandy may heavily impact the Kent County, the Washington College Emergency Operations Group (EOG) has compiled the following summary of advice on preparing for high winds and water and riding out the storm safely. Updates on the storm and any campus scheduling issues will be available through WAC alerts and the College Web site.

EARLY PREPARATIONS:

If you have a smartphone, sign up for the Red Cross Hurricane app, a free service that provides alerts for your location and advice for staying safe. Click here to read more about that app. Call **REDCROSS (**73327677) from your mobile phone to have the link sent to you.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR OFFICE OR WORKSPACE
  • Turn off or unplug lights, computers, small appliances, etc.
  • Back up important documents on your computer by copying to a flashdrive or burning to a disk.
  • Move equipment and files, etc., off the floor onto desks or shelves and as far away from windows as possible.
  • Ensure windows are closed tightly and locked.
GETTING READY AT HOME
  • Assemble the following: 

– Canned food for at least three days, and manual can opener 

– At least three gallons of drinking water per person, plus water for any pets 

           – Rainwear  

           – Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries

           – Special items needed for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.

  • Make sure you know how to turn off electricity, gas and water in case authorities advise you to do so.
  • Fuel vehicles.
  • Shut off or unplug as many electrical items as possible before the storm hits, including lights, appliances, room air conditioners, heaters, computers, televisions, appliances, etc. This will avoid power-surge damage and shock risk in flooded conditions and will assist the power company in restoring electricity when the system comes back online.
  • Bring inside or secure any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trashcans, hanging plants, grills, and other items that can be picked up by the wind.
  • If possible to do safely, clear debris from gutters and downspouts and remove dead limbs from trees.
  • If you have storm windows, lower them into place.
  • Fill a bathtub or large containers with water to use for cleaning and flushing, but NOT for drinking. 
IF YOU ARE IN AN AREA SUBJECT TO EVACUATION:
  • Identify several locations where you can go, and keep the telephone numbers of these places in your purse or wallet.
  • Remember to take a map of the area: you may encounter flooded, closed or clogged roads and need to take alternate, less familiar routes.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio (162.5 MHz), local radio (in the Chestertown area, WCTR 1530 AM or 102.3 FM) or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. The Kent County Office of Emergency Services provides updates and information on emergency shelters on its web site: http://kentcounty.com/oes/.
  • Take with you:

            – Prescription medications and medical supplies

            – Clothing and Bedding (sleeping bags, cots, pillows)

            – Bottled water

            – Flashlights with fresh batteries

            – Battery-operated radio

            – Extra batteries

            – First aid kit

            – Maps

            – Emergency cash

            – Important documents including driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records.

WHEN THE STORM HITS
  • Stay indoors, away from windows.
  • Beware the eye: The calm “eye” of a hurricane is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you are driving and come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.
AFTER THE STORM

After the Hurricane subsides and it is safe to emerge from your residence, it is still important to maintain an awareness of your surroundings and take safety measures to counter any dangers the hurricane may have left in its wake:

  • Stay tuned to local radio for information updates.
  • If you have evacuated, return to your residence only after the authorities/ public safety say that it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid any contact with loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to public safety or, if off campus, the power company, police, or fire department.
  • Enter your home with caution; beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by floodwater and of electrical shock in wet areas.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry the interior spaces.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Use your telephone only for emergency calls so that lines will be free for trained response personnel.
  • Never use a portable generator indoors; follow manufacturer instructions to avoid any threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:  

FEMA page on disaster supplies:

http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit

National Weather Service hurricane information:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/

Washington College Emergency Guidelines:

http://emergency.washcoll.edu/severeimminentweather.php