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Are you prepared for a hurricane?


Secure your home ahead of a storm's arrival
Secure your home ahead of a storm's arrival

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

October 28, 2012 — With hurricane Sandy set to barrel down on the northeastern US, here are some hurricane tips, courtesy of the Canadian Red Cross.

Heavy rain and strong winds often accompany hurricanes
Heavy rain and strong winds often accompany hurricanes

With Hurricane Sandy set to dump heavy rainfall on the northeastern U.S., people are being reminded to prepare for a big storm before it even forms. 

While the U.S. will see the worst of Sandy, the storm's strong winds and heavy rain has the potential to cause power outages in Canada. That's why the Canadian Red Cross says anyone possibly in the path of a storm should be prepared to sustain themselves for approximately 72 hours. 

Here is their advice: 

PREPARE AN EMERGENCY KIT

Ronda Kenney, the Canadian Red Cross' director of disaster management for Atlantic Canada, says that an emergency preparedness kit should include water (2-4 litres per person), canned goods, can opener, a First Aid kit, batteries, flashlight, medication, personal documentation, a battery-operated radio, blankets and toilet paper. 

It's also a good idea to have spare house and car keys. Put aside some cash in small bills and coins, which would be especially useful if ATMs or debit card machines stop working. 

“You could certainly make it a family activity,” says Kenney. “One of the benefits of that is you have an opportunity to talk to family members and children about hurricanes and tropical storms just to ease their minds, because normally with these types of incidences people become quite anxious.” 

Leave your emergency kit by the door in case you need to “grab it and go.”

Storm surge can damage sea-side properties in a hurricane
Storm surge can damage sea-side properties in a hurricane

GET TO HIGHER GROUND 

When a hurricane or powerful storm is hitting, people in low-lying coastal areas should stay over with family or friends who live on higher grounds, suggests Harold Richards, an emergency medical officer in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Richards also urges people to keep away from the water. 

AROUND THE HOUSE 

“With high winds and rain, one of the things that we would also recommend is that you go around your household and if there's any loose branches you should trim them,” sais Kenney. “Make sure there's no debris that could be blow away through the high winds.”

Kenney says the time before a storm is also a great opportunity to put lawn furniture away and ensure that items outside of your house are secure. 

Some other good ideas include making a list of contact information of family members, health providers, employers. While you're at it, move your vehicle away from trees, which could topple over. It is also advised that you clear your drains and make sure your windows are closed. 

FAMILY AND PETS 

Every family is unique, and has different needs. A family with young children needs to think of ways to keep its smallest members occupied if the lights go out. A board game could do the trick. 

Stock up on any medication you might need, whether it is over-the-counter or prescription, and get an extra pair of eyeglasses, if possible. 

Just as you need to have food and water for yourself, you also need to provide those essentials for your pets. Be sure to keep them inside during stormy weather. 

For more advice on preparing for an emergency, visit the Canadian Red Cross website. Keep it at The Weather Network's Tropical Storm Centre for the latest details on Sandy. 

With files from Lisa Varano

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