The American Red Cross urges residents to make their storm preparations now as heavy rains and high winds are forecast to begin in the Northeast states Sunday afternoon.
Weather experts predict this massive weather system could affect as many as 50 million people, with the storm having a significant impact in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
WHAT THE RED CROSS IS DOING. Some expect the approaching storm to be more powerful than Hurricane Irene, which caused a widespread disaster response operation in 2011. The Red Cross is mobilizing disaster workers and putting relief supplies into place. It also has shelters standing by and more than 100 emergency response vehicles on alert to respond, including vehicles from as far away as Wisconsin.
HELPFUL RED CROSS APPS. Download the free Red Cross Hurricane App and First Aid App to have emergency information at your fingertips. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. The Red Cross also has videos available online at www.redcross.org to help get prepared, including information on severe weather preparedness.
PREPARE YOUR FAMILY. Government officials and weather experts are urging people to get ready for the storm now. Bring anything inside that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.). Keep up-to-date about the storm’s progress and find out about your community’s disaster response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets.
CHECK DISASTER SUPPLIES. Everyone should build or restock their disaster supply kits now. Replace or restock items as needed. These supplies should include:
- Water - one gallon per person, per day
- Food - non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
POWER OUTAGES. Utility companies are warning customers that the storm could cause power outages lasting several days. Everyone should fill their vehicle’s gas tank and get extra cash now as gas pumps and ATMs won’t work if the power is out. Other steps you can take are:
- Have coolers on hand and surround your food with ice in the cooler or refrigerator to keep food cold for a longer period of time. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Use flashlights, not candles.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and any appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out to avoid damaging them when the power is restored.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car as traffic lights will be out and roads congested
USING A GENERATOR. If you are planning to use a generator, never use it indoors, including in a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace or other area, even with ventilation. Generators put off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be deadly. Full details are available at the link above.
FLOODING. Sandy is expected to bring heavy rains. People should listen to weather reports for updates and stay alert for extended rainfall and flooding.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon water above your ankles or a flooded road, turn around and go another way.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
- Keep away from loose or downed power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it. Keep children out of the water.
IF YOU HAVE TO EVACUATE. Several states have already declared a state of emergency and some are calling for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas. Stay informed about the storm’s progress and evacuate if told to do so.
If you need to find a shelter, download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check your local television, radio and newspaper.
If coming to a shelter, there are things you should bring with you such as:
- Prescription medicine
- Identification and valuable papers
- Change of clothing
- Water, non-perishable food
- Blankets, pillows and/or sleeping bags
- Baby food and diapers