Firefighter, Hose Rescue Co. Member since 2011
Brad Gaito
EMT,
Hose Rescue Co.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CALL: 631.427.7250

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Weather Emergency Preparedness

Monday, June 12, 2023

The best time to prepare for a hurricane or other weather system is before it arrives; June 1st marked the start of Hurricane Season...are you ready? Avoid having to rush through potentially life-saving preparations by waiting until it's too late. Get your disaster supplies while the shelves are still stocked. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 3 days. Electricity and water could be out for weeks. You'll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. You may need a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for your cell phones. And lastly, don't forget your pets! Develop an evacuation plan. Now is the time to begin planning where you would go and how you would get there. You do not need to travel far, your destination could be a friend or relative who lives in a well built home above flooding levels. Plan several routes, and be sure to account for your pets if you have them. Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan, and share it with your family. Determine family meeting places, and make sure to include an out-of-town location in case of evacuation. Write down on paper a list of emergency contacts, and make sure to include utilities and other critical services; remember, the internet may not be accessible during or after a storm.

Hurricanes aren't the only weather we need to be prepared for; just last week many of us encountered hail in the area! Your roof is often your first line of defense against severe weather. By strengthening or fortifying your roof, your home's structure is less likely to sustain heavy damage from wind, hail and water compromising your roof covering. Then, in the event of hail, seek shelter immediately and stay away from windows. If you're driving, pull over and stay in the vehicle.

Flooding is the most common disaster in the Country, and in our area, this doesn't always result from a large storm. We know that certain areas flood every rainstorm, and hopefully by now, you know to avoid these areas in your vehicles. Never walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don't Drown! Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

A tornado can happen anytime and anywhere, and they bring intense winds, over 200 miles per hour. In recent years, we have been getting these storm warnings more, and while we acknowledge there isn't usually much time to prepare, there are still steps you can take to be safe. Go to a safe shelter immediately, such as a basement, storm cellar or a small interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building and stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls. Be aware of flying debris, and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle if you are in a car. If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible. Knowing the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris, or a loud roar like a freight train, will help to give you time to get to a safe space.

After any disaster, recovery is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, and this includes physical well-being, structural integrity of your home, and general access to an area following a natural disaster. Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed out roads, contaminated buildings, contaminated water, gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring and slippery floors. Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering. Keep a battery-powered radio with you for emergency updates from local officials. And always remember that the members of the Halesite Fire Department will be ready to respond to your emergencies at all times, even if we are also recovering from a weather related disaster!




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