The Time to Act is Now

September 19, 2017

As the summer comes to an end, tropical storms and hurricanes followed by winter storms become part of the daily weather watch. We have recently seen dramatic weather in parts of the United States. In CT, we are fortunate to mostly avoid the misery of tornadoes, earthquakes and major floods, although they can happen.  We don’t know what this storm season holds for us, but we have learned over the years that a storm can be brief, intense and very disruptive to our lives.

 Today we have better weather technology that help meteorologists to tract storms. As a result, watches and warnings are issued more frequently. The positive aspect to this is that you may have more time to prepare. The negative aspect to this is that people get complacent and tend to ignore warnings, as often the event does not come to pass. Then they get caught without the supplies they need.

 September is National Preparedness Month. It is time to do a “Prep Check” in your home to help to keep your family safe during a major weather event. There are basic actions you can take that will help you in a storm. Don’t wait until the day before a predicted storm or you could be one of those people who arrive at the grocery store to find all the supplies are gone from the shelves.  Take the time now to prepare.

 If you can at least take two or three simple actions, you may make your life safer, should a hurricane or winter storm occur.

 

Number 1: Keep a 3-day supply of food and water on hand for each person in your family. It is recommended that you have 1 gallon of water per person per day. You should also keep a 3-day supply of other essentials like diapers, formulas, medications and pet foods.

Number 2: You need flashlights and batteries; the more, the better. Keep them handy, especially in the bedroom. Put one next to everyone’s bed. This simple action will help you navigate your environment more safely and help you to find supplies that you might need. Flashlights are much safer than candles!

Number 3: Every home should have a battery-operated radio. Should an event be widespread or should you need information about evacuations or special instructions, your radio may be your only source of information. Since both radios and flashlights require batteries, be sure you keep a supply in the house. Again, if you wait until the day before, you may not be able to find batteries.  

 Even if you don’t fret about potential storms, taking these actions are pretty simple and can relieve a lot of anxiety, especially if you have children in the home.

Other preparedness tips include:

  • For those on wells and septic, remember that toilets don’t flush when the power goes out! Filling bathtubs and other large pots should a hurricane approach will be very helpful (been there, done that!)
  • Know if your town has an emergency shelter or where you can go to get help if you need it.
  • If a major storm is predicted, fill your car with gasoline (as well as gas cans for your snow blower, and store them safely!)
  • Learn about how long can you keep refrigerated and frozen food if a storm knocks out your power. There are several good sources on the internet including: www.fsis.usda.gov; www.foodsafety.gov; and the American Red Cross, www.redcross.org.  If you do not have internet access Quinnipiack Valley Health District residents (Bethany, Hamden, North Haven and Woodbridge) may request written information about storm preparedness by calling QVHD, 203 248-4528.