Five important tips to help you prepare for a hurricane
Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 9:00 - In the midst of hurricane season, it's important to take time to brush up on safety tips and disaster protocol, especially as powerful Hurricane Matthew speeds northwards through the Atlantic Ocean.
Natural disasters can spread quickly, impacting the entire country in various ways -- so it's important to be prepared regardless of your location.
1. Ensure you have bottled or potable water to last a few days.
You should have several litres of water set aside, per person per day. The public water supply can quickly become contaminated due to prolonged power outages or flooding in the watershed.
2. Charge all batteries and cell phones.
3. Top up your propane tank and your vehicle.
Although you shouldn’t heat your home with a propane barbecue, when the power is out it offers a good means of cooking food and purifying water. Having your vehicles fueled up is always a good idea during any storm - you never know when you may need to travel, and how far you may have to go (if roads aren't flooded).
4. Get some cash.
Remember, when the power is out the use of ATMs is impossible, and the same goes for making any Interac or credit card purchases. Having cash in your pocket ensures you can purchase what you need, and possibly even skip the lineup.
5. Check your property for weak tree limbs, and remember to secure outdoor furniture.
The trees are still somewhat in full foliage now, and unlike the middle of fall, the leaves are firmly fixed to their branches. The opportunity for downed trees and tree limbs is much higher at this time of year. With this storm, powerful winds are expected, so power outages are likely. Also, to avoid insurance claims next week, have a good look around your property (and you neighbors’) to ensure any weak trees or limbs are secured. If possible, bring your outdoor furniture indoors. If not, ensure they are secured, and check the path of power lines to your home.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center also urges people to know the difference between watches and warnings.
Hurricane / Tropical Storm Alerts:
Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that tropical-storm conditions are possible within the specified area.
Hurricane Watch: An announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area.
Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Action: During a watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.
Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that tropical-storm conditions are expected within the specified area.
Hurricane Warning: An announcement that hurricane conditions are expected within the specified area.
Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Action: During a warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.
Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour.
Action: Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
Watch below: Hurricane Matthew forecast
Source: Red Cross