October 2015 - How Prepared Are You for the Next Weather Emergency?

HurricaneIt’s hard to believe this month marks three years since Hurricane Sandy. Despite warnings, so many people were unprepared for the extensive damage, widespread power outages and gas lines reminiscent of the 1970s.

Even though most of us have been taught emergency preparedness since grade school, there are still things that get overlooked. Here are a few reminders worth considering.

  • Let water drip from faucets to keep pipes from freezing.

  • If you have a well, fill bathtubs with water for flushing toilets and other uses that don’t require sanitized water.

  • Stock up on propane if you’re using a camping stove to prepare meals.

  • Keep gasoline for your generator stored outdoors in safety containers.

  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and have a hand-pump siphon in case you need to transfer gas to your generator.

  • Move valuables and furniture, if possible, to upper floors so they’re not damaged by floods.

  • Move outdoor furniture and other loose items inside or tie them down; remove dead trees.

  • Stock those emergency supply kits we’re taught to have ready with a three-day supply of food and water for evacuations; two-week supply for home confinements; and a seven-day supply of prescription medications.

  • Reach out to elderly neighbors and relatives, especially those dependent on power-operated medical equipment. Be sure they have emergency backup.

  • Have a list of friends, relatives or pet-friendly hotels on hand since many shelters don’t allow pets.

Keeping informed is extremely important in any emergency. The NJ State Police and local law enforcement use the Nixle emergency notification system. Clinton Township residents can sign up by visiting http://www.clintontwpnj.com/index.aspx?page-32.

Social media is also helpful for staying informed and keeping in touch. Communities tend to band together in the worst of times. In the past, health clubs offered facilities for showering, retailers set up charging stations and libraries offered Internet access. Available services are often announced through Facebook, Twitter and the like.

The surest way to weather any emergency is to have a plan and be willing to act on that plan. Be prepared, keep in touch and stay safe!

As published in the October 2015 issue of the "Clinton Township Newsletter."
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