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              'Where the LEGENDS Live'

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS
DUE TO SUMMER STORMS AND POTENTIAL HURRICANES IN  FL. PLEASE RETURN & READ THIS PAGE

Hurricane Preparedness Information 
To help all employees and contractors of CMD prepare for disaster situations the following information has been provided from http://hurricane.weathercenter.com/ 
Flood zones and evacuation zone information for all Tampa Bay Area counties can be found at http://hurricane.weathercenter.com/ 
The federal emergency management agency can also be a useful tool for disaster information. The FEMA web site is located athttp://www.fema.gov 

Protecting Your Family Papers Must Be Given A High Priority

Some of your most valuable and difficult possessions to replace are also among your most fragile. 
In the hectic hours before a hurricane hits, people are worried about protecting their lives and property.  
But the loss of important papers and documents can make recovering from a disaster more difficult.  
You should take a few minutes to find and safeguard things like deeds, titles and birth certificates, documents that will be difficult or expensive to replace.  
If you live in an evacuation zone or mobile home, you should have these in a waterproof box that you can quickly grab on the way out. You'll want to keep these with you. 
But even if you don't evacuate, it's a good idea to put these things in a home safe or at least a strong, fireproof box. 
Experts say the best way to protect these important documents is a safe deposit box at a bank. 
Here are some of the items you should consider protecting.  
Legal papers: Deeds, titles to vehicles and boats, divorce records and adoption papers, passports, military records, living wills, powers of attorney, child custody papers. 
Financial documents: Stock and bond certificates, numbers of brokerage and bank accounts and credit cards, a backup computer disk if you use financial management software and the first two pages of your latest income tax forms.  
Personal items: Birth certificates, naturalization papers, marriage licenses, children's immunization records, pet vaccination records, negatives - in protective plastic sleeves - or computer disks of photographs that would be impossible to replace. 

Insurance: Originals or copies of your insurance policies, including vehicles or boats, health and life, telephone numbers of your agents, appraisals of valuable items like jewelry, art or antiques, home improvement records, a written description of your home's contents, and if you have them, videotapes or photographs of the possessions. 
If you opt for a safe deposit box, consider a bank that is not in a flood zone or an area likely to flood from low-level Category 1 or 2 storms. 
If you don't want a safe deposit box, gather these documents and put them in sealed plastic bags in a secure, waterproof container.  

Your Policy May Not Cover Floods

Only 20 percent of Americans who live in flood zones actually have flood insurance. But it's not just the folks who live in designated flood zones who may need to buy these policies.  
''Really everyone is vulnerable to floods,'' said Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute. ''Severe snow, overflowing rivers, heavy rains, levy failures - there's some flooding 
involved.'' 
Waters said 90 percent of natural disasters result in flooding. This is not the type of coverage you can simply run out, purchase, and have it kick in the moment you sign the papers. 
There's a 30-day waiting period. So, if you don't have flood insurance now, sign up for it immediately because if there is a flood, a moratorium goes into effect until the waters cease. 
Some misconceptions: Homeowners' insurance does not cover flood damage. And there is no such thing as a ''hurricane policy.'' 
You may want to consider wind insurance. In some areas of Florida, wind damage may be covered under your homeowners' policy. 
The average cost for flood insurance is about $364 a year, which covers an average $133,000 home. The maximum coverage amount is $250,000 for a single-family home and $100,000 for contents. 
Even homeowners in low-risk areas with no history of flooding have policies available to them. The cost ranges from $106 a year for homes without basements to $131 a year for homes with basements. Those policies provide $25,000 of coverage. 
Apartment dwellers, especially those who live on the first floor, and businesses also need to consider flood insurance. Renters' insurance may not cover this damage.  
Take a look at the details of your policy. If you have any questions, contact your insurance agent. 
Now is also the time to take stock of your possessions. Videotape or write down an inventory of your belongings. Collect receipts. Make a copy of all of this information and 
keep it in a waterproof container - even a Ziploc bag will do. Keep one handy, for easy access to grab quickly if you have to evacuate. Keep another in a different location. 
After a flood hits, contact your insurance agent. Beware of unscrupulous ''adjusters-for-hire'' who charge a commission or promise they can ''speed up a claim.'' In some cases, independent adjusters can get you more money than one who works for your insurance company, but take the time to check out that person's license, company and references. 
Take pictures of the damage. Give a copy to your agent, and keep a copy for yourself. For more information about flood insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-427-9662, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-427-4661. It's never too early to begin preparations.  
"Take the necessary steps ahead of the hurricane's arrival to protect the home and contents. That will help people get back in their homes as soon as possible," says Jim Martin, director for Disaster Emergency Services, Chapter of the American Red Cross. 
Martin suggests that all homeowners make individual disaster plans, steps they'd follow in the event of an impending storm.  
First on the list should be determining if you live in an evacuation zone, says Martin, adding that many area residents don't know if they do.  
Securing homes and yards against the impending storm is crucial as well, says David Bilodeau, director of emergency management for Pinellas County in Clearwater. 
"No matter what you do, it will help," Bilodeau says. "The more protection you have, the faster you can return to normal conditions. If a storm comes and your windows are blown out, and we have flooding, you'll now have to live somewhere else. 
"And it's a tremendous problem to find housing post-hurricane."  
So, just what should you do to protect your home, its contents and your yard before the storm threatens? 
"Protect the total envelope of the home," says Stu Voigts, product merchandise manager for the Southern Division of Home Depot in Leesburg.  
"There's a misconception among consumers that if the windows are OK, then the house will be OK," he says. "But, [homeowners] need to protect the windows, the patio doors, entry doors and the garage doors and roof. If the `skin' stays intact, the chance of the house staying intact is much greater."  
Wind entering a house through a broken window or garage door will weaken the integrity of the structure, says Martin. "When a window blows and wind enters the house, it has no place to go but up. The goal is to keep the wind out."  
Bilodeau says one of the most overlooked areas is the garage door.  
"They're one of the weakest links of the home in terms of wind," he says.  
When high winds cause the [garage] doors to give way, a good portion of the home is exposed, Martin says. Then, wind that enters the home forces the roof to blow out.  
"You have to have some way to secure the sides of the door, and brace the center, so it doesn't buckle," he says, adding that most companies will offer braces that can help to strengthen the doors. 
Cliff Hunter of Home Depot, who's traveling through stores in the area and teaching associates about hurricane preparation, suggests that homeowners installing new garage doors consider one that is hurricane-rated. They may be pricier than others, and probably should be installed professionally for best protection, he adds.  
Proper attachment to the structure is the key to whatever hurricane protection product homeowners choose, Hunter says.  
Cost is often a factor when homeowners choose window and door protection, experts agree. 
"The minimum thickness for plywood [to cover doors and windows] should be five-eighths inch," says Hunter. "But thicker is better."  
Steel shutters get Bilodeau's approval, as he notes that although three-quarter-inch plywood will suffice, it's heavy to handle and requires pre-drilling, pre-mounting and storage. 
"But anything is better than nothing," he says. "There are a number of products made from plastic, PVC and aluminum. Basically it becomes an issue of money, installation, maintenance and aesthetics. You have to consider the type of windows you have and what you have to protect." 
Martin suggests that homeowners make sure their removable shutters are in good shape. "Have them numbered so you know which windows they go to," he advises.  
And should homeowners not have to evacuate, suggests Bilodeau, they should have considered window protection on the room within the house that has been designated as a "safe room." 
It should have limited window area and be devoid of skylights. Skylights, the director notes, may be secured by fastening a cut-to-size piece of plywood that has been covered with plastic to the inside of the light. 
"If they do go, [that method] may help to keep wind and rain out," he says.  
Keeping the house in good repair is advised and so is checking the roof for loose shingles. 
Many people don't even think about the wind turbines that dot their roofs, Bilodeau says. "They're very vulnerable to being blown off during high winds and will leave a gaping hole for rain to come in." 
He suggests buying caps that can be installed when a hurricane threatens.  
"The biggest problem is getting on the roof," he says. "People may want to look at having the turbines replaced with a different style of vent that has a lower profile."  
Make sure there are no leaks in the roof, notes Martin, adding that it's good to keep a roll of plastic or some plastic garbage bags on hand, so that valuable items such as furniture and computers can be protected during the storm if a leak occurs.  
Check insurance policies to be sure they're up to date and coverage is adequate, notes the Florida Department of Insurance in its brochure "Are You Prepared? A Hurricane Checklist for Insurance Consumers." 
"If the policy doesn't cover the current value of your home and its contents, you should consider increasing your coverage," according to the pamphlet. 
And get started early - long before a storm threatens, say the experts.  
"You can't save lives and your house unless you prepare yesterday," says Hunter.  

After The Storm 
Checklists Reentry:
Be patient. Access to affected areas will be controlled. You won't be able to return to your home until search and rescue operation are complete and safety hazards, such as downed trees and power lines, are cleared. It may take up to three days for emergency crews to reach your neighborhood. It may take two to four weeks before utilities are restored.  
Stay tuned to your local radio station for advice and instructions about emergency medical aid, food and other forms of assistance.  
Have valid ID. Security operations will include checkpoints. Valid identification with your current local address will be required.  
Home PA avoid driving. Roads will have debris, which will puncture your tires.  
Don't sight-see, especially at night. You may be mistaken for a looter and shot. 

For Your Safety: preparetions

It's never too early to begin preparations.  
"Take the necessary steps ahead of the hurricane's arrival to protect the home and contents. That will help people get back in their homes as soon as possible," says Jim Martin, director for Disaster Emergency Services, Chapter of the American Red Cross. 
Martin suggests that all homeowners make individual disaster plans, steps they'd follow in the event of an impending storm.  
First on the list should be determining if you live in an evacuation zone, says Martin, adding that many area residents don't know if they do.  
Securing homes and yards against the impending storm is crucial as well, says David Bilodeau, director of emergency management for Pinellas County in Clearwater. 
"No matter what you do, it will help," Bilodeau says. "The more protection you have, the faster you can return to normal conditions. If a storm comes and your windows are blown out, and we have flooding, you'll now have to live somewhere else. 
"And it's a tremendous problem to find housing post-hurricane."  
So, just what should you do to protect your home, its contents and your yard before the storm threatens? 
"Protect the total envelope of the home," says Stu Voigts, product merchandise manager for the Southern Division of Home Depot in Leesburg.  
"There's a misconception among consumers that if the windows are OK, then the house will be OK," he says. "But, [homeowners] need to protect the windows, the patio doors, entry doors and the garage doors and roof. If the `skin' stays intact, the chance of the house staying intact is much greater."  
Wind entering a house through a broken window or garage door will weaken the integrity of the structure, says Martin. "When a window blows and wind enters the house, it has no place to go but up. The goal is to keep the wind out."  
Bilodeau says one of the most overlooked areas is the garage door.  
"They're one of the weakest links of the home in terms of wind," he says.  
When high winds cause the [garage] doors to give way, a good portion of the home is exposed, Martin says. Then, wind that enters the home forces the roof to blow out.  
"You have to have some way to secure the sides of the door, and brace the center, so it doesn't buckle," he says, adding that most companies will offer braces that can help to strengthen the doors. 
Cliff Hunter of Home Depot, who's traveling through stores in the area and teaching associates about hurricane preparation, suggests that homeowners installing new garage doors consider one that is hurricane-rated. They may be pricier than others, and probably should be installed professionally for best protection, he adds.  
Proper attachment to the structure is the key to whatever hurricane protection product homeowners choose, Hunter says.  
Cost is often a factor when homeowners choose window and door protection, experts agree. 
"The minimum thickness for plywood [to cover doors and windows] should be five-eighths inch," says Hunter. "But thicker is better."  
Steel shutters get Bilodeau's approval, as he notes that although three-quarter-inch plywood will suffice, it's heavy to handle and requires pre-drilling, pre-mounting and storage. 
"But anything is better than nothing," he says. "There are a number of products made from plastic, PVC and aluminum. Basically it becomes an issue of money, installation, maintenance and aesthetics. You have to consider the type of windows you have and what you have to protect." 
Martin suggests that homeowners make sure their removable shutters are in good shape. "Have them numbered so you know which windows they go to," he advises.  
And should homeowners not have to evacuate, suggests Bilodeau, they should have considered window protection on the room within the house that has been designated as a "safe room." 
It should have limited window area and be devoid of skylights. Skylights, the director notes, may be secured by fastening a cut-to-size piece of plywood that has been covered with plastic to the inside of the light. 
"If they do go, [that method] may help to keep wind and rain out," he says.  
Keeping the house in good repair is advised and so is checking the roof for loose shingles. 
Many people don't even think about the wind turbines that dot their roofs, Bilodeau says. "They're very vulnerable to being blown off during high winds and will leave a gaping hole for rain to come in." 
He suggests buying caps that can be installed when a hurricane threatens.  
"The biggest problem is getting on the roof," he says. "People may want to look at having the turbines replaced with a different style of vent that has a lower profile."  
Make sure there are no leaks in the roof, notes Martin, adding that it's good to keep a roll of plastic or some plastic garbage bags on hand, so that valuable items such as furniture and computers can be protected during the storm if a leak occurs.  
Check insurance policies to be sure they're up to date and coverage is adequate, notes the Florida Department of Insurance in its brochure "Are You Prepared? A Hurricane Checklist for Insurance Consumers." 
"If the policy doesn't cover the current value of your home and its contents, you should consider increasing your coverage," according to the pamphlet. 
And get started early - long before a storm threatens, say the experts.  
"You can't save lives and your house unless you prepare yesterday," says Hunter.  

Legal papers: Deeds, titles to vehicles and boats, divorce records and adoption papers, passports, military records, living wills, powers of attorney, child custody papers. 
Financial documents: Stock and bond certificates, numbers of brokerage and bank accounts and credit cards, a backup computer disk if you use financial management software and the first two pages of your latest income tax forms.  
Personal items: Birth certificates, naturalization papers, marriage licenses, children's immunization records, pet vaccination records, negatives - in protective plastic sleeves - or computer disks of photographs that would be impossible to replace. 

Insurance: Originals or copies of your insurance policies, including vehicles or boats, health and life, telephone numbers of your agents, appraisals of valuable items like jewelry, art or antiques, home improvement records, a written description of your home's contents, and if you have them, videotapes or photographs of the possessions. 
If you opt for a safe deposit box, consider a bank that is not in a flood zone or an area likely to flood from low-level Category 1 or 2 storms. 
If you don't want a safe deposit box, gather these documents and put them in sealed plastic bags in a secure, waterproof container.  

Be patient. Access to affected areas will be controlled. You won't be able to return to your home until search and rescue operation are complete and safety hazards, such as downed trees and power lines, are cleared. It may take up to three days for emergency crews to reach your neighborhood. It may take two to four weeks before utilities are restored.  
Stay tuned to your local radio station for advice and instructions about emergency medical aid, food and other forms of assistance.  
Have valid ID. Security operations will include checkpoints. Valid identification with your current local address will be required.  
Avoid driving. Roads will have debris, which will puncture your tires.  
Don't sight-see, especially at night. You may be mistaken for a looter and shot. 

For Your Safety: 

Your Policy May Not Cover Floods

Only 20 percent of Americans who live in flood zones actually have flood insurance. But it's not just the folks who live in designated flood zones who may need to buy these policies.  
''Really everyone is vulnerable to floods,'' said Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute. ''Severe snow, overflowing rivers, heavy rains, levy failures - there's some flooding involved.'' 
Waters said 90 percent of natural disasters result in flooding. This is not the type of coverage you can simply run out, purchase, and have it kick in the moment you sign the papers. 
There's a 30-day waiting period. So, if you don't have flood insurance now, sign up for it immediately because if there is a flood, a moratorium goes into effect until the waters cease. 
Some misconceptions: Homeowners' insurance does not cover flood damage. And there is no such thing as a ''hurricane policy.'' 
You may want to consider wind insurance. In some areas of Florida, wind damage may be covered under your homeowners' policy. 
The average cost for flood insurance is about $364 a year, which covers an average $133,000 home. The maximum coverage amount is $250,000 for a single-family home and $100,000 for contents. 
Even homeowners in low-risk areas with no history of flooding have policies available to them. The cost ranges from $106 a year for homes without basements to $131 a year for homes with basements. Those policies provide $25,000 of coverage. 
Apartment dwellers, especially those who live on the first floor, and businesses also need to consider flood insurance. Renters' insurance may not cover this damage.  
Take a look at the details of your policy. If you have any questions, contact your insurance agent. 
Now is also the time to take stock of your possessions. Videotape or write down an inventory of your belongings. Collect receipts. Make a copy of all of this information and 
keep it in a waterproof container - even a Ziploc bag will do. Keep one handy, for easy access to grab quickly if you have to evacuate. Keep another in a different location. 
After a flood hits, contact your insurance agent. Beware of unscrupulous ''adjusters-for-hire'' who charge a commission or promise they can ''speed up a claim.'' In some cases, independent adjusters can get you more money than one who works for your insurance company, but take the time to check out that person's license, company and references. 
Take pictures of the damage. Give a copy to your agent, and keep a copy for yourself. For more information about flood insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-427-9662, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-427-4661. 
Home Preparations
Avoid downed or dangling utility wires. Metal fences may have been "energized" by fallen wire. 
It's never too early to begin preparations.  
"Take the necessary steps ahead of the hurricane's arrival to protect the home and contents. That will help people get back in their homes as soon as possible," says Jim Martin, director for Disaster Emergency Services, Chapter of the American Red Cross. 
Martin suggests that all homeowners make individual disaster plans, steps they'd follow in the event of an impending storm.  
First on the list should be determining if you live in an evacuation zone, says Martin, adding that many area residents don't know if they do.  
Securing homes and yards against the impending storm is crucial as well, says David Bilodeau, director of emergency management for Pinellas County in Clearwater. 
"No matter what you do, it will help," Bilodeau says. "The more protection you have, the faster you can return to normal conditions. If a storm comes and your windows are blown out, and we have flooding, you'll now have to live somewhere else. 
"And it's a tremendous problem to find housing post-hurricane."  
So, just what should you do to protect your home, its contents and your yard before the storm threatens? 
"Protect the total envelope of the home," says Stu Voigts, product merchandise manager for the Southern Division of Home Depot in Leesburg.  
"There's a misconception among consumers that if the windows are OK, then the house will be OK," he says. "But, [homeowners] need to protect the windows, the patio doors, entry doors and the garage doors and roof. If the `skin' stays intact, the chance of the house staying intact is much greater."  
Wind entering a house through a broken window or garage door will weaken the integrity of the structure, says Martin. "When a window blows and wind enters the house, it has no place to go but up. The goal is to keep the wind out."  
Bilodeau says one of the most overlooked areas is the garage door.  
"They're one of the weakest links of the home in terms of wind," he says.  
When high winds cause the [garage] doors to give way, a good portion of the home is exposed, Martin says. Then, wind that enters the home forces the roof to blow out.  
"You have to have some way to secure the sides of the door, and brace the center, so it doesn't buckle," he says, adding that most companies will offer braces that can help to strengthen the doors. 
Cliff Hunter of Home Depot, who's traveling through stores in the area and teaching associates about hurricane preparation, suggests that homeowners installing new garage doors consider one that is hurricane-rated. They may be pricier than others, and probably should be installed professionally for best protection, he adds.  
Proper attachment to the structure is the key to whatever hurricane protection product homeowners choose, Hunter says.  
Cost is often a factor when homeowners choose window and door protection, experts agree. 
"The minimum thickness for plywood [to cover doors and windows] should be five-eighths inch," says Hunter. "But thicker is better."  
Steel shutters get Bilodeau's approval, as he notes that although three-quarter-inch plywood will suffice, it's heavy to handle and requires pre-drilling, pre-mounting and storage. 
"But anything is better than nothing," he says. "There are a number of products made from plastic, PVC and aluminum. Basically it becomes an issue of money, installation, maintenance and aesthetics. You have to consider the type of windows you have and what you have to protect." 
Martin suggests that homeowners make sure their removable shutters are in good shape. "Have them numbered so you know which windows they go to," he advises.  
And should homeowners not have to evacuate, suggests Bilodeau, they should have considered window protection on the room within the house that has been designated as a "safe room." 
It should have limited window area and be devoid of skylights. Skylights, the director notes, may be secured by fastening a cut-to-size piece of plywood that has been covered with plastic to the inside of the light. 
"If they do go, [that method] may help to keep wind and rain out," he says.  
Keeping the house in good repair is advised and so is checking the roof for loose shingles. 
Many people don't even think about the wind turbines that dot their roofs, Bilodeau says. "They're very vulnerable to being blown off during high winds and will leave a gaping hole for rain to come in." 
He suggests buying caps that can be installed when a hurricane threatens.  
"The biggest problem is getting on the roof," he says. "People may want to look at having the turbines replaced with a different style of vent that has a lower profile."  
Make sure there are no leaks in the roof, notes Martin, adding that it's good to keep a roll of plastic or some plastic garbage bags on hand, so that valuable items such as furniture and computers can be protected during the storm if a leak occurs.  
Check insurance policies to be sure they're up to date and coverage is adequate, notes the Florida Department of Insurance in its brochure "Are You Prepared? A Hurricane Checklist for Insurance Consumers." 
"If the policy doesn't cover the current value of your home and its contents, you should consider increasing your coverage," according to the pamphlet. 
And get started early - long before a storm threatens, say the experts.  
"You can't save lives and your house unless you prepare yesterday," says Hunter.  

For Your Safety: 
Be especially careful when cutting or clearing fallen trees. They may have power lines tangled in them.  
Beware of snakes, insects or animals driven to higher ground by floods. 
Enter your home with caution. Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home. 
If there has been flooding, have an electrician inspect your home or office before turning on the breaker. 
Be careful with fire. Do not strike a match until you are sure there are no breaks in gas lines. Avoid candles. Use battery-operated flashlights and lanterns instead.  
Keep grills for cooking outdoors in a well-ventilated area.  
Assess and photograph damage to your home and its contents.  
Use your telephone only for emergencies to keep lines open for emergency communications. 


Repairs: 
Make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and minimize further damage. 
Only hired licensed contractors to do other repairs. Check with the local Building Department to ensure the contractor is licensed. If you do hire a contractor, do not pull the permits for them. If they ask you to do so, this may be an indication that they are not properly licensed. 

Generators: 
Fueled by gas, generators can run appliances and fans. If you have lost power, don't connect a generator to building wiring. (This could injure or kill neighbors or electrical crews.) Plug appliances, etc. directly into the generator and place it in a well-ventilated area. Don't forget to check the oil every time you add gas. Conserve fuel by alternating appliances. For example, refrigerators can be kept cool by supplying only eight hours of power a day. 
Clean-up Precautions: 
Call professionals to remove large, uprooted trees. 
Always use safety equipment such as heavy gloves, safety goggles, heavy boots, long-sleeved shirts and pants. 
Tie back long hair and wear a hat and sunscreen. 
Drink plenty of fluids and rest and ask for help when you need it.  
Lift with the legs, not with the back. 
Don't burn trash. 
If you can't identify something, don't touch it. 
Be especially wary of downed power lines. 
Be especially careful with a chain saw. 

Water Precautions:
Whenever widespread flooding occurs, there is potential for bacterial contamination. Bacteria such as shigella and samonella can lead to life-threatening dehydration for people and their pets if untreated by antibiotics. Disinfect any tap water you drink or use for cooking or cleaning. You must purify tap water until officials notify you of its safety. Bring water to a rolling boil or use water purification tablets. 
Properly stored water should be good for 2-3 weeks. 
Other precautions to remember: use disinfected water for brushing teeth, cleaning contact lenses and washing hands. This is important in preventing the spread of disease. 

Evacuation Checklist

Take your hurricane survival kit with you. 
Take important papers with you, including your driver's license, special medical information, insurance policies and property inventories.  
Let friends and relatives know where you are going.  
Make sure your neighbors have a safe ride. 
Lock windows and doors. 
Turn off electricity at the main breaker. 
Store valuables/irreplaceable treasures in your empty appliances - washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven, microwave. 
Pack some dry clothes in plastic bags. 
Put plastic bags over TVs, lamps, computers, etc. 
Keep a set of tools with you during the storm.  
Fill new garbage cans with water to use for flushing, bathing, washing clothes, etc. 

Under a hurricane watch you should: 
Make sure your vehicles are filled with gas. If the storm disrupts electric power, gas pumps won't work. 
Get cash, including a roll of quarters. After a storm, ATMs may not function and businesses may not be able to process credit cards. 
Make sure prescriptions are filled and you have enough medicine to last a week or more. 
Check your survival kit and make any last-minute purchases you might have overlooked. 
Make sure your important documents such as deeds, stock and bond certificates, insurance policies, legal papers and other paperwork are in a safe, waterproof container. Include photographs or videotape of your valuables for possible insurance claims. 
Monitor weather reports by television or radio. 
Begin to bring in or secure small, loose objects outside. 
Make sure cell phones and other rechargeable appliances such as some types of flashlights are fully charged. 
If you have a gas grill, fill the propane tank for cooking after the storm if the power is lost. 

If the storm continues its approach, a hurricane warning will be issued. This means the hurricane is expected within 24 hours. This is the time to begin 
battening down the house. There is no assurance you will have the full 24 hours before conditions deteriorate. 


Under a warning, you should: 
Put shutters on windows. You will want to do this as soon as possible because as winds increase it becomes difficult to handle sheets of plywood or metal. 
Move inside anything left in the yard that can be blown around, such as garbage cans, furniture, bird feeders, potted plants, lumber or lawn ornaments. It's OK to throw plastic or metal patio furniture in the pool.  
Even small items hurled by 120 mph winds can become deadly projectiles or shatter a window. If you have a wooden picnic table, turn it upside down. 
If you don't move your gas grill indoors, remove the propane tank. 
Cover the pool pump filter and super-chlorinate the pool. 
If you haven't filled water containers, do it now while the municipal water or your well still work. 
Set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings. Since a full freezer stays cold longer, you can fill some containers with water. In addition to helping the freezer remain cold if power goes out, the ice can be useful after the storm. 
Continue to monitor the storm's progress and listen for local warnings from emergency officials. 
If you have a boat on a trailer, tie it down or move it inside. 
Put any vehicles you can in the garage. 
Fill sinks and bathtubs to provide a supply of water for washing and other uses besides cooking and drinking. 

Terms To Know
Originally Published: April 4th, 2015
Storm strengths
As a storm approaches, forecasters will issue alerts depending on where the storm is headed and its strength. Here are terms you need to know:  
Tropical depression: A storm with a counterclockwise wind rotation around an area of low pressure. A depression's highest winds can be 38 mph. This is the first stage of a storm that could grow into a hurricane. They are given numbers by the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Tropical storm: A storm with winds of 39-73 mph. Once a depression 
becomes a tropical storm, the Hurricane Center gives it a name.  
Tropical storm watch: Issued by the Hurricane Center, this means an area may be threatened by a tropical storm … winds up to 73 mph … within 36 hours. This could be a broad stretch of coastline. 
Tropical storm warning: An area is expected to be affected by tropical storm conditions … winds from 39-73 mph … within 24 hours. The area under a warning will be smaller than under a watch.  
Hurricane: A storm with winds more than 74 mph. They are classified in categories of 1-5 according to wind speeds, 1 being a minimal hurricane.  
Hurricane watch: Issued for an area that may be threatened by hurricane conditions … winds more than 74 mph … within 36 hours. .Hurricane warning: Issued for an area expected to be under hurricane conditions within 24 hours. 


Pets Present A Special Challenge If You Must Leave Home
One family member too often overlooked during hurricane preparations is the one with fur or feathers. 
But caring for a pet requires some of the same early planning as you need for the rest of the family. 
Taking care of some tasks now can make it easier during the hectic time if a storm approaches. 
Public shelters do not allow pets, so if you live in an area likely to be evacuated you'll either need to make arrangements or find somewhere besides a shelter to stay.  
As you make your plans for an evacuation route, first check with hotels along the way to see if any will allow pets. Also take into account where you will be leaving the pet and make allowances for the time to get there.  
Long before the storm, you can check with veterinarians and kennels to see if they can board your pets. 
If you put your pet in a kennel, most will require proof of current vaccinations.  
Many places that will take pets also require a leash, food and water bowls, newspapers or plastic bags for cleaning up and any medication. The pet's toys must be labeled. 
Leaving pets alone during the hurricane should be the absolute last resort. They stand a good chance of being hurt or killed, or may escape and become lost if your home is damaged. 
At the very least, they could be terrorized by the storm.  
When gathering what you'll take with you in an evacuation, also get what your pets will need. This should include about a week's worth of food, bottled water, a can opener if the food is canned, a sturdy carrier, leash or harness, and litter and litter box for cats.  
Also include any medication the animal may need. Keep your pet's vaccination records with your other important documents. 

You should take a recent photo of the pet for identification.  
Be sure the animals have identification tags.  If possible provide a location and phone number of your evacuation destination that way if you and your pets are separated someone can contact you. 
You should also plan to evacuate early. If you wait and need to be rescued by emergency officials, they may not allow you to bring your pets.  
If you don't need to evacuate, bring your pets inside early. They can sense the coming bad weather and may grow anxious. 
Use the same safety precautions during the storm as for your family such as staying away from large windows and remaining in a room with no exterior walls.  
If you have a carrier or crate for your pet, consider letting the animal use that to provide a sense of security. 
Never, ever, leave a pet outdoors during a storm. 
If you have absolutely no choice but to leave your pets behind, keep them in a room away from large windows.  Make sure they have plenty of water and food in containers that are self-feeding. Large dogs may be able to drink from a partly filled bathtub.  Leave toys, bedding and other things the pets are familiar with.  Replace a chain choke collar with a nylon or vinyl collar.
Even if your dogs and cats get along, separate them if you have to leave them behind. 

If you have a bird, make sure it's in a cage, and ask a veterinarian about special feeders. Birds must eat every day. 
Wild animals and snakes could be displaced by the storm and may be more common. 

After the storm, keep your pets secured inside, on a leash or inside a fenced yard. Familiar landmarks and scents could be changed and they could be lost if they wander off. 
Sometimes the trauma of the storm can change the behavior of pets. Normally placid, friendly dogs can become aggressive or defensive.