SOURCE: SafeMart


October 30, 2012 12:51 ET

Tips From SafeMart to Stay Safe During Hurricane Sandy

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Oct 30, 2012) - To help Americas all across the Eastern Seaboard cope with Hurricane Sandy, SafeMart has released its tips for preparing, evacuating and restoring a home for Hurricane Sandy. SafeMart's tips for Hurricane Sandy give readers actionable tips that can help prevent disaster and improve the speed and safety of returning home during a very stressful time for many families.

As you are reviewing your hurricane checklist, make sure your home security system is functioning properly as it is critical for monitoring your home after you've evacuated. It will allow you to see what's happening inside your home while you're gone using your wireless surveillance cameras. Sensors will notify the police if a looter breaks in while you're gone, call the fire department if there is a fire or a carbon monoxide leak and notify the proper emergency responder if the home starts to flood.

Be Prepared
If you live in an area at risk of tropical storms or hurricanes, make sure you are prepared if you stay in your home and prepared if evacuation is necessary.

  • Make sure your security system's backup battery is fully charged and plugged in until you have to leave.
  • Strategically place your security surveillance cameras throughout the home so that you're able to see inside before you return.
  • Test your CO detectors and smoke detectors. If the storm causes a fire or if there is a CO leak, these detectors will notify the authorities even if you're not home.
  • Flood sensors are particularly useful during a hurricane. If any part of the home is flooded the flood sensors will sound an alarm and send an alert to you or an emergency responder.
  • Contact your local National Weather Service office and government or emergency management office to find more information about your area's susceptibility to hurricanes and tropical storms.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts for you and your family.
  • Learn all evacuation routes around the area for a quick and easy evacuation.
  • Make sure that you stay in a building that meets the requirements for standing against a hurricane.
  • Have a stock of non-perishable food and drink stored away in case you cannot leave your home.
  • Make sure your home has storm shutters.
  • Create an evacuation plan including: a safe shelter to use, the route to get there and a backup plan in case the storm prevents you from evacuating.
  • Teach your evacuation plan to everyone in your family. That way if an emergency occurs, everyone knows where to meet and what to do.
  • Keep batteries, flashlights, important documents, protective clothing and other useful items in easy to carry bags, in case you need to leave quickly.
  • Prepare plans for locations other than your home, in case you are caught at school, work or another place when the storm hits.

Secure Yourself and Your Family
If you know a storm is on its way, you should take safety precautions to make the transition easier and to protect your home.

  • Use your storm shutters or board up your home to protect it from the wind and rain.
  • Clean up your yard and put away any yard furniture sitting around or toys and bikes that might be lying on the lawn.
  • Make sure your car has a full tank of gas and no maintenance problems, so if you need to evacuate you won't run into problems.
  • Clean out your rain gutters and spouts.
  • Leave all low-lying areas to avoid flooding.
  • Make a checklist of all the things you need. Go through them one by one so you know you are ready for the storm.

Authorities will tell you to evacuate if you are in a low-lying area or if you are in the direct, dangerous path of a storm. If authorities issue an evacuation, do so immediately.

  • If your CO or smoke alarm sounds, leave the home immediately. As long as your system is actively monitored, it will call the police or fire department and they will respond as fast as possible.
  • Know and understand different hurricane warnings and terms, so you can stay updated on the storm.
  • Follow your evacuation plan, and keep contact with your friends and family to make sure everyone is safe.
  • If you feel safer evacuating without an authority's recommendation, you should do it well before the storm arrives so you aren't caught in the middle of it.
  • Disconnect your appliances before you leave to reduce the likelihood of electrical shock when you return.
  • Bring along only what is necessary, including your emergency preparation list and items.
  • Stay tuned for updates on the hurricane so you know what to expect.
  • Follow evacuation routes when leaving your home. They will most likely be very crowded, so prepare for heavy traffic.

Stay Inside Until the Storm is Over
Even if you do not have to evacuate, you should still listen to and obey what authorities say about the storm. This will help keep you safe inside your home and know what is happening outside.

  • Make sure all the doors and windows are covered to prevent dangerous broken glass. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of hurricane injuries are from flying glass.
  • Remain indoors at all times and close all interior doors.
  • Find a room with no windows to take shelter. If there is not one available, use a closet.
  • Wait until authorities have declared it safe to come out. The weather calms down in the eye of the storm, but will pick right back up again once the eye passes.
  • Monitor your TV, radio or Internet for updates.

Even after the storm has passed, victims of a hurricane can still experience dangerous situations and hazards.

  • Before returning to your home, check your alarm monitoring system to make sure that there aren't any active alarms for fire, CO, flood or intrusion.
  • If you're using wireless surveillance cameras, make sure to double-check the inside of the home using the cameras before entering.
  • Stay informed of what roads are closed due to road damage or flooding when you are traveling home.
  • Keep in contact with other family members and friends and stay updated on one another's location and safety.
  • Don't drive through water, and look out for debris and sinkholes while driving.
  • Keep an eye out for fallen power lines while driving and upon returning home.
  • Stay away from buildings that have not yet been approved by professional engineers or architects. Even though your home may look fine, flood and storm damage may have caused structural damage.
  • Be aware of any electrical damage or the smell of gas. The storm may have shifted supply lines, broken seals, or frayed electrical wires.

The key to handling an emergency like a hurricane or tropical storm is to always stay informed. Don't return to your home until an authority permits and always evacuate when told. These preparations and tips will help keep you safe in an emergency.

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