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Being prepared for a hurricane


Is your family prepared for a potentially damaging storm?
Is your family prepared for a potentially damaging storm?

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

October 2, 2011 — With Ophelia approaching, the Canadian Red Cross is reminding Atlantic Canadians how to best be prepared for a storm.

Stay away from the water when a storm is hitting
Stay away from the water when a storm is hitting

People in Atlantic Canada are being reminded that they should prepare for a big storm before it even forms.

Strong winds and heavy rain from a hurricane could cause power outages, flooding, and even evacuations. That's why the Canadian Red Cross says anyone the path of a storm should be prepared to sustain themselves for approximately 72 hours.

“[We've] really been emphasizing the importance of individual and family preparedness,” says Ronda Kenney, the Canadian Red Cross' director of disaster management for Atlantic Canada. “We've been in contact with a number of municipalities to make them aware the Red Cross assistance is provided. We have our emergency response teams on standby in case our services are called into action.“

Here is some advice from the Canadian Red Cross on how to be prepared for a storm:

PREPARE AN EMERGENCY KIT

Kenney 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.”

Heavy rain can trigger localized flooding
Heavy rain can trigger localized flooding

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.

Be sure to visit the Canadian Red Cross online for more advice on preparing for an emergency, and keep it at The Weather Network for the latest details on Ophelia.

With files from Lisa Varano

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