Prepare for a storm before it strikes


Hurricane Sandy may be a distant memory for some, but many Long Islanders are still dealing with the damage, both physical and psychological. They — and we — were only too happy to make it through last summer without a direct hit from a named tropical storm, but that time of the year is here again: the heart of hurricane season.

It’s important to take steps now to make sure you and your family are safe when the next storm hits. As Sandy showed us, Long Island’s infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to high winds and flooding rains, so make sure you’re prepared to either spend some time without power or water, or evacuate your home quickly and efficiently.

Since Sandy, Nassau County has taken measures to better prepare for major storms, and so should you. The county’s Office of Emergency Management has stored equipment for mass care and sheltering in strategic locations, where it will be easily accessible for the next severe storm. The OEM has also purchased numerous generators to help power buildings, and surplus military vehicles that can operate in flooded areas. Evacuation routes have been reviewed and more signs have been added, and new equipment will help get information to evacuees in shelters.

At home, however, it’s important that you and your family stock up on food and water; a five-day supply is recommended. Make sure food is non-perishable and doesn’t need a lot of preparation. You should have one gallon of water per person per day.

Keep plywood and sandbags on hand, so you can prepare for a storm without having to shop at the last minute for supplies that may be sold out. If you can, pre-install anchors on the outside of your home so you can quickly cover windows with plywood.

Make sure you have extra copies of important documents — birth certificates, deeds, wills, financial records and the like — and store them in water-tight containers. Stock up on candles and batteries, and make sure you have flashlights and portable radios at the ready. When a storm is forecast, turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. That way, if the power goes out, food will keep longer.

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