City preps for Issac

Allison B. Hudson

City officials have been monitoring Tropical Storm Issac since last Friday evening when rainstorms hit the area late Friday. Mayor Leroy Sullivan urges all residents to be safe and calm and to adhere to all directions given by emergency preparedness officials.

A few things to keep in mind is emergency supply kits with at least a five-day supply per person such as: water, food, first aid kits, clothing and bedding, important family documents, and specialty items like prescription medications, batteries and flashlights.

One gallon of water per person, ready-to-eat canned foods, and any special foods for infants and diet foods, bandages, hygiene products, sunscreen, and anti-bacterial soaps and ointments, blankets, sturdy shoes, and full change of clothes. Insurance papers, wills and deeds, bank and credit card information, and important contact telephone information and addresses are important. Setting aside some cash is necessary because atms and banks may be down during a disaster.

 Also, for pet owners, keep in mind a plan for your pets and their needs.

Evacuation routes may be necessary depending on the storm’s severity, so knowing your evacuation routes and alternate routes will be important.

If officials have not ordered an evacuation, there are several ways to be prepared at home. The most common preparedness for homeowners is to board up windows and check with local officials on where to get sandbags if needed. Insure that flashlights and radios have batteries, a week’s worth of canned goods for food supply, and freezing water to create ice are just a few preparedness tips for a possible hurricane. When waiting out a storm, listen to local weather updates because the storm may not be over.

If an evacuation is ordered, first thing is to stay calm, fill your vehicle with gas, and bring a disaster supply kit for each person. Before leaving home, turn off all appliances and lights, and let someone know of your evacuation plans.

In the event a hurricane does cause damage to our area, the aftermath is vital for residents. Do not return home until officials declare an area safe, and know that when returning to an area that has been devastated by a hurricane it is a gradual process. Use extreme caution when entering your home for the first time upon returning, be alert for chemicals that may harm your family upon entering and be sure to check for structural damage before allowing others to enter. Hurricane-driven floodwaters may have damaged buildings where you least expect it. Use the telephone only for emergency calls because telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations and they need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.

Check the news frequently for information on things like drinking water and possible curfews and road closures.

Regardless of the storm’s severity, have a plan and be prepared for the worst. For additional information visit the National Weather Service’s website at www.noaa.gov, or visit your local emergency preparedness office for local details and help with your preparedness plan.