HURRICANE SEASON (JUNE 1—NOVEMBER 30), 06.07.2009
As you are all most likely aware, hurricane season is once again upon us. We would ask that you take some time to make certain you and your families are prepared in the event of another major storm. Please remember that it is ALWAYS best to be prepared in advance of the storm. By taking some time to get things in order now, you can save a great deal of time and avoid problems should another major storm hit the area.
We would like to remind you of a couple of important issues.
In the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster, please remember to notify any family and/or friends outside of Houston as to your condition and whereabouts before, during (if possible), and after the event. For Turkish nationals who are temporarily visiting areas in the United States that may be subject to severe weather, such as Houston, New Orleans, Mississippi, etc., we strongly recommend that you go to our webpage and register yourself online, in case of an emergency situation. This will help us to disseminate critical information to you, if necessary. Although this is not a requirement, we would strongly recommend that you do so. http://www.e-konsolosluk.net/SeyahatKaydi/SeyahatKaydi_Ana.aspx
We have compiled information from various websites, including the Harris County Office of Security and Emergency Management and the City of Houston, to assist you in being as prepared as possible this Hurricane Season.
Hurricane Safety Tips
BEFORE THE SEASON BEGINS:
Stock Your Home
It's a good idea to stock a supply of food, water, and supplies for any emergency. Any season can bring disaster. Winter storms or summer heat waves could affect your ability to get to the store for food or medication. Even a simple water main break could leave you without vital water for a few days.
Water. Each person's need for drinking water varies, depending on age, physical condition, and time of year. It is recommended that you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three (3) to seven (7) days. Also keep a couple of gallons on hand for sanitary purposes.
Store water in plastic, airtight containers and replace every two months to be sure it is pure.
Food. Supplies should include enough nonperishable, high-energy foods to feed each person in your family for a minimum of three (3) to seven (7) days. You may be stranded in your home for several days or local stores may run low on supplies. Also, if you go to a public shelter, it is helpful to take as much non-perishable food as you can carry.
A suggested supply of foods for emergencies includes:
whole dry milk* canned fruit juices canned meats and fish, like Vienna sausage, meat spread or tuna meat substitutes, like beans bread and crackers* peanut butter dried fruits dry cereals* granola bars or cookies* snack foods*
*Place paper or waxed packages in a watertight container, such as a larger plastic bag. This will keep them dry and make them easier to carry.
Supplies and Equipment: (Keep the following items in one place so you can get to them easily)
A battery operated radio (with extra batteries) and a NOAA weather radio A flashlight (with extra batteries) Blankets or sleeping bags Paper plates and utensils, including a bottle and can opener, pocket-knife, whistle Candles and lighter and/or matches (in a waterproof container) or an oil or kerosene lantern Toilet articles and sanitary needs for personal hygiene, including hand sanitizer and moist wipes Special Items for infants (diapers, bottles, formula, etc.) and the elderly Clothing—seasonal, rain gear (including umbrella), sturdy shoes Important documents—insurance papers, medical records, bank account numbers, social security card, etc. (These should be kept in a waterproof container.) Keep a list of important telephone numbers with you at all times An extra set of keys to your home, car, etc. Toys, books, and games Tools—keep a set with you during the storm Pet care items—an ample supply of food and water, proper identification, immunization records, a carrier or cage, medications, muzzle and a leash Cash (Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods Keep your fuel tanks on all vehicles full. Have extra cans of gas available, but take caution in storing filled gasoline cans. Fully-stocked First Aid Kit Mosquito Spray
Make certain you mobile phone is always charged-up and keep the charger with you at all times.
Medicines: It is very important to keep an adequate supply of any medicines you take. If you are stranded in your home, or are asked to go to a public shelter, you may not be able to get more medications easily. If possible, you should also keep an extra pair of glasses on hand for emergencies.
Even though you have emergency supplies, don't make the mistake of trying to "ride out" a hurricane at home.
EVACUATE if local authorities tell you to do so, especially if you live in low-lying areas that could be easily flooded. Leave early before roads become flooded and you cannot get out.
Arrange for a ride with nearby neighbors or relatives if you do not have a car. You can also call a local senior citizens group, your church, or your community emergency services office for help in arranging a ride.
Plan for Evacuation
When you evacuate, you may wish to take some of the supplies listed above with you, but don't take more than you can carry. If you are going to a public shelter, the most important items to take are your medication, a blanket, a portable radio, an extra change of clothing, and perhaps a small supply of packaged quick-energy foods like raisins and granola bars.
You can take certain actions ahead of time to make an evacuation easier:
Keep your gas tank as full as possible during hurricane season. In an evacuation, fuel may be difficult to get. Team up with a "partner", a neighbor or friend living nearby to plan your evacuation together. By sharing supplies and a ride, each of you can help the other. If possible, make plans in advance to stay with friends or relatives living inland on higher ground if you need to evacuate. Learn the recommended evacuation route from your home to safer, higher ground. Local broadcasts will tell you where to go during an evacuation, but you can learn the safest route ahead of time by watching for a pre-season distribution of a local evacuation plan or by calling your local emergency services office.
Stay Aware of Weather Conditions
Listen to daily weather forecasts during hurricane season. As hurricanes develop, they are monitored closely by the National Weather Service. The Weather Service issues two types of notices about approaching hurricanes: a HURRICANE WATCH and a HURRICANE WARNING.
A HURRICANE WATCH means a hurricane may threaten coastal and inland areas, and that hurricane conditions are a real possibility. It does not mean they are imminent; however, you should take preparatory action.
When a HURRICANE WATCH is issued for your area, you should:
Stay tuned to local stations for the latest weather information. Contact your "partner" to review your plans. Be sure your car is fueled and ready to go, or contact the person who agreed to give you a ride in an evacuation to re-confirm your arrangements. Gather your emergency supplies, placing them in your car or near the front door if you are riding with someone else. Store away all objects on your lawn or patio that could be picked up and carried by the wind. Lawn furniture, garbage cans, garden tools, toys, signs, and a number of other harmless items can become deadly missiles in hurricane winds. Gather up important papers in your home such as birth and marriage certificates, wills, insurance policies, deeds, etc. Place them in a waterproof container with your non-perishable food supply or in your safe deposit box.
A HURRICANE WARNING is issued when a hurricane is expected to strike within 24 hours. A hurricane warning may also include an assessment of flood danger in coastal and inland areas, small craft warnings, gale warnings, and recommended emergency procedures.
WHEN A STORM THREATENS
If a hurricane WARNING is issued for your area and an evacuation is ordered, local radio and television stations will announce information on where you should go and the best route to take. Call your "partner" and make arrangements to leave.
Don't panic if you cannot get a ride. In a hurricane evacuation, local emergency services personnel or police usually patrol each street to warn those people who may not have a radio or television. You can stop one of these officers, and they will help you.
Leave early! Do not wait, especially on low-lying areas. Roads can flood quickly leaving you stranded.
You should not use elevators to leave your building. The electricity could cut off and leave you stranded.
Before you leave your home:
Run wide waterproof tape from corner to corner in a large X on each window and glass door to keep glass from shattering. Close and lock your windows and glass doors, lowering blinds and closing curtains to keep flying rubble out. If possible, you may wish to nail boards over larger windows. Fill bathtubs and other clean containers with water for later use should water become unavailable. Follow the approved evacuation route from your home to safe higher ground.
Do not stay in a mobile home during a hurricane. Even if a mobile home is anchored, there is no guarantee it will withstand the strong winds of a hurricane.
DURING THE HURRICANE
If you are unable to evacuate before the hurricane hits, stay inside. Do not be fooled by the eye of the hurricane and its temporary period of peaceful weather conditions. The length of time within the eye varies from several minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the size of the storm. The larger and more intense the hurricane, the larger the eye.
Stay away from windows and glass doors. You could be struck by flying debris.
Continue to listen to your radio or television for hurricane updates and emergency information.
AFTER THE HURRICANE
Local authorities will announce when it is safe to return to your home. Stay tuned to local stations for current information.
When you get home:
Look for visible structural damage before you go inside. Watch for loose or dangling electrical power lines and broken sewer, water or gas lines. Notify local officials immediately if you see any. Make sure all electrical outlets and appliances are dry and free of water before using them. Do not drink water from the faucet until officially notified that it is safe from contamination. Use your emergency supply or boil tap water before drinking it. Without electricity, food in your refrigerator could spoil in a few hours. Don't eat it. Food in a freezer could partially thaw, but could be safe to eat for several days. Food should not be refrozen once it begins to thaw. Snakes, animals and insects instinctively travel inland to higher ground to escape approaching floodwaters. Expect them and be prepared to protect yourself.
Careful planning and quick response to a hurricane threat will reduce damage to your home and could save your life.
Most importantly, you must EVACUATE if you are told to do so by local officials. Material possessions are replaceable: your life is not.
For a printable version of the 2009 Hurricane Preparedness Brochure, courtesy of Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, please visit the following link:
For continual coverage and updated information throughout this hurricane season, please refer to the webpage of Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at http://www.hcoem.org/Default.aspx?P=Hurricane. This website will also provide you with real time storm tracking and evacuation routes, in addition to an abundance of other helpful information.
More information can be found at any one of the following websites:
Take action now to be better prepared for hurricane season. Be Safe!!
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