Although it’s unlikely that Ithaca and the immediate area will be in the direct path of whatever is left of Hurricane Irene when it gets up here, we might have some high winds and rain. Here are some basic preparedness ideas for this and any major storm.
- Family Communications Plan – Write down critical cell and landline numbers in case your phone dies. Know where you will meet if cell towers and landline phones go out. Designate an out-of-area relative everyone should contact if they can’t reach each other.
- Cell phones – Text messages use less battery and get through when calls can’t. Use external batteries are available to keep your cell phone powered when the internal battery dies. Pack your car charger and home charger if you evacuate; extend your battery by turning off wi-fi and other services you aren’t using.
- Computers—Back up critical data onto external hard drives, thumb drives, or online offsite services. If you have to evacuate take critical equipment with you or seal it in garbage bags to protect against water damage.
- Water – Buy water or fill pots and pitchers with drinking water – 1 gallon per day per person; water systems may become contaminated and unsafe for drinking.
- Food – Get non-perishable food you don’t have to cook.
- Cash—Credit and debit cards won’t work if power and communications go down. Withdraw $ 200 - $ 300 so you can make purchases.
- Automobile—Fill your gas tank when you first hear a warning; gas pumps won’t work if power fails.
- Evacuation – Have a backpack or overnight bag with clothes, medications, sweatshirt and sweatpants; extra glasses, personal hygiene supplies; energy bars; emergency blankets (look in the camping supply areas of sporting goods or department stores); follow instructions to shut off water, gas, and electricity before you leave.
- Hand-crank weather radio – these also charge cell phones through a USB cable. Purchase one at Lowes, Home Depot, or Wal-mart. Make sure the radio has local so you will only receive alerts for your local area.
- Batteries – Have enough on hand for flashlights, lanterns, radios.
- LED lanterns—No need for fuel or mantles; safer than candles; some lanterns come with removable LED flashlights.
- Common Sense – Evacuate if your local government issues an order. Don’t drive through flooded streets. Stay away from downed wires and trees.
Don’t panic -- Keep your cool for your own safety and your family’s.