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Hurricane Survivor’s Advice: Prepare Early, Don’t Depend On Government

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Jerry Hoinachi carries wood to board up his windows in preparation of Hurricane Irene August 26, 2011 in the Rockaways section of Queens, New York. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Jerry Hoinachi carries wood to board up his windows in preparation of Hurricane Irene August 26, 2011 in the Rockaways section of Queens, New York. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hurricane Preparation Guide

BOSTON (CBS) – Pam Kehoe of Houston, Texas has some simple advice for anyone bracing for Hurricane Irene – run from the water and hide from the wind.

Kehoe, the Group Marketing Director for CBS Radio Houston, lived through Hurricane Ike in 2008.  She said personal safety comes first.

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“The number 1 lesson we learned in IKE was you don’t want to depend on the government. So get what you need now,” she told CBS Boston.com Friday.

“The number 2 lesson we learned from IKE was prepare early. Stores closed and were out of stuff earlier than you would expect. “

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“If you are in low lying areas that can flood or are in the path of the storm surge, GET OUT. The force of flooding water is tremendous. Park your car in a multistory cement parking garage if you can, not on the roof and not on the lowest floors. If you are away from the coast, you can probably ride it out but of course follow directions from your local emergency system. In Houston most of us lost power for 3 days to 2 weeks. So we learned quickly how to cope.”

Here are some of the things Kehoe said you will need:

1. Flashlights and spare batteries – be sure they work! We also have battery powered lanterns that you use for camping which work great. One or two of those will light a room.

2. Fill the bathtub with water for flushing; fill pitchers with water for drinking. We bought a couple of new trash cans put them in one of our bath tubs and filled them with water.

3. Fill large Zip lock bags with water now and freeze them. (It will take a little while for them to freeze all the way.) If your power goes off you can put these in a cooler with food or drinks and they will last a couple of days.

4. Refrigerate as much water as possible now. Easier to keep it cold than to get it cold.

5. Check now to see if you happen to have a dry ice company in your area. We did – they normally sell commercially, but during the hurricane you could walk in and they would sell you packs of dry ice which worked great in the bottom of a refrigerator to keep it cold.

6. Freeze as many water bottles as you can. It will keep your refrigerator cold in a power outage and then you can drink them. Buy UHT milk that doesn’t need refrigeration (tastes a lot better than powdered). Stock up on canned and paper goods. Make sure you have a manual (non-electric) can opener!

7. Check your camping equipment – a good propane stove can be a lifesaver. Make sure you have extra propane tanks in your GARAGE (not inside the house). Think about how your going your to cook. Gas Grill – make sure you have a full tank.

8. They sell and I bought battery powered fans.

9. Battery-powered radios and TVs can give you information.

10. Telephones.  D id you know a standard old-style (non-cordless, non-internet) phone will generally work in a power outage? Be sure you have at least one extension that does not need electricity. The wired phone lines did not fail.

11. Bring inside any plants or outdoor furniture that can fly away (chairs and even tables). Look around your yard for anything that could be flying debris and get rid of it or store it. Flying debris breaks windows.

12. If you use bean coffee, grind some now while you have power! (No fun using a mortar and pestle).

13. Extra batteries or car chargers for your cell phone. Don’t count on it to work in an emergency – the towers may be down or the lines will be jammed.

14. Look at the trees around your house.  If they fall, which part of your house will be safest? (probably too late now, but before next time: cut out dead branches and dangerous overhanging limbs.) The night before the hurricane I had my husband on the roof trimming branches – they would have literally scraped a hole into the roof if he hadn’t. Then we had to store the branches in the shed so they wouldn’t fly around.

15. Fill up your car’s gas tank and all your extra gas cans. (Add “stabilizer” to gas if it’s going to sit for several months). When power is out, gas stations don’t work either.

16. Refill any prescriptions that you might need in the next week or two.

17. Think about what your going to eat and drink. Plan for more than you think your going to need. I would make sure you could stay at home and eat and drink for at least 4 – 6 days. Places started to open here 2 – 3 days after. Canned soup or ravioli are ready to go. Don’t forget pet food if you have pets.

18. I always figure I need a case of water per day for 3 – 4 people.

19. Think about being without electricity and internet for a week.  What would you miss most? (we passed time reading, playing cards and board games – be sure you have a full deck!).

20. Those of you with kids – make sure you have stuff to entertain them, cards, board games extra batteries for their gameboys etc.

We were out of power for two weeks and ended up buying a generator and window air conditioning units, which made it much more bearable.

Stay safe!

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