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What to do in the 'Watch' and 'Warning' phases.

Published 16th June 2016, 11:0am

At the Watch Phase (48 hours or less before the onset on Tropical Storm / Hurricane force winds):

• Board up all windows with shutters.

• Check batteries and stock up on canned food, cash, flashlights, garbage bags, toilet paper, first aid kit / medical supplies.

• Ensure that your battery operated radio is working.

• Store a gallon of water per person per day to last a week in sealed containers. Additional water supplies can be stored in clean bathtubs and sinks but this supply should not be considered an alternative to water stored in containers.

• Bring in outside objects (e.g., garbage cans, lawn furniture, bicycles).

• Start making ice (in jugs and containers) to help keep items cool in the freezer, and also so food and ice can be transferred to a cooler in the event that the power remains out for an extended period.

• Fuel up vehicles and get them to higher ground if possible.

• Secure boats.

• Listen closely to the advice of local officials, and evacuate if told to do so.

Warning Phase (36 hours or less before landfall):

• Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.

• Turn on your TV/radio, and check regularly in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions

• Charge cell phones to ensure you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

• Store valuables, personal papers, important documents, computer back-ups in waterproof containers, use large industrial strength garbage bags to wrap up computer, paintings etc. and move to the highest level of your home if you do not plan to take them with you if you are sheltering elsewhere.

• Unplug small appliances. Small appliances may be affected by electrical power surges that may occur as the storm approaches.

• Have a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid using open flames (candles and kerosene lamps) as a source of light. Flashlights provide the safest emergency lighting source. Kerosene lamps require a great deal of ventilation and are not designed for indoor use.

• Listen to the advice of local officials, and evacuate if told to do so.

• Seek shelter if you do not plan to stay in your home.

• If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors and away from windows.

• Stay away from flood waters; never drive through them.

• Be aware of the calm “eye”; the storm is not over.

If evacuating your home to a Shelter.

• Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the mains water valve.

• If time permits and you live area prone to flooding, move furniture and other vulnerable items to a higher floor. If you live in a single story dwelling consider lifting furniture and appliances such as refrigerators etc. up by placing on concrete blocks.

• Lock up your home and leave.

Items to take with you if you not staying in your home or if going to a Shelter:

• Bring preassembled emergency supplies and protective clothing.

• First aid kit and prescription medications.

• Baby food and diapers.

• Non-perishable food items and bottled water.

• Cards, games, books.

• Change of clothes.

• Toiletries.

• Battery-powered radio and extra batteries.

• Flashlight (one per person) and extra batteries.

• Blankets or sleeping bags and pillow.

• Identification.

• Valuable papers (copies of insurance papers, passports, and other essential documents).