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Preparation Guide
for Severe Weather Events
with special emphasis on inland dangers




Click any topic below for more information.
We suggest you first take our Preparedness Quiz,
click here.
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Now is the time to plan
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Pet and animal tips
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Know where to go

bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Decide when to leave
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Your supply list
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) If you stay
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Evacuation Center tips

bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) What to do First
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Clean-Up Tips
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Get help
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Help List
bullet_red.gif (934 bytes) Protect your business

Are YOU Prepared For Any Type of Disaster?

A landfalling hurricane such as Katrina is but one of the many disasters that can strike, sometimes with little or no advance warning.

Tornadoes, flash flooding and winter storms all are threats to the Mid-Atlantic region. Manmade disasters are also a reality in today's society.

We suggest prior to visiting the helpful topics on the left of this page, you take our Emergency Preparedness Quiz. It will give you a good idea of how prepared you are today and what areas you will want to improve. Return to this page and use the Preparedness Guide for helpful suggestions and additional resources. 

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Go to the Preparedness Quiz HERE

The next time you hear hurricane --
think inland flooding!

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Now is the time to plan

Before A Storm Threatens

The hurricane season begins June 1 and ends on November 30. Tropical Storms can threaten the region anytime during that period. Inland flooding from hurricanes kills more people than coastal storm surge! Take these steps now, before a flash flood watch or warning or a high-wind warning is announced:

Special note about Tornado Preparation
TORNADOES have been recorded in the Mid-Atlantic States in every month. June and July are "peak months" for tornadoes in this area; however May and August have produced the biggest number of F2-F4 twisters. Also, 70% of landfalling hurricanes produce tornadoes, usually on the right side of the storm. Your pre-plans for a tornado should be similar to those you make for other severe weather such as flooding or inland Tropical Storms.

* Check to be certain your emergency equipment is in good working order.
* Check that you have enough supplies to last for at least three days.

* Obtain and store materials necessary to properly secure your home.

* Keep trees and shrubs trimmed.

* Cut weak branches and trees that could fall and bump against the house.

* Do not trim trees and shrubs after a watch or warning has been announced.

* Your trash cans become dangerous projectiles propelled by high winds.

* If you expect to evacuate your home, plan in advance where you will stay,

* If you have elderly friends or relatives who will stay with you during a storm, keep a list of their prescribed medicines and photocopies of their prescriptions and include them in your emergency plan. Plan now when you will take care of their property and pick them up.

*Review your insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage.

* If you own a cellular phone, be sure it is fully charged. Do this before a warning is issued for your area. Consider a DC quick charger for your phone, or purchase a second battery and fully charge it before severe weather. If power is lost at a a nearby cellular phone tower, your phone will not work.

* Does your family own Personal Family 2-Way Radios? Make sure you have charged batteries. Inexpensive radios can be purchased for as little as $30 a pair and generally work up to mile in mountainous terrain.

Plan to evacuate if you...
* Are advised to evacuate by emergency management officials.

* Live in a mobile home. Do not stay there under any circumstances. They are unsafe in flood or high wind conditions, no matter how well-fastened to the ground.

Plan your evacuation alternatives now...
* Make arrangements to stay with friends or relatives. Know in advance where you can go.

* Relocate outside the evacuation area.  Don't get caught on the road by the storm. Follow evacuation advice closely. If you wait to the last minute you'll drive further for shelter and could be caught in the storm.
* As a last resort, go to an Evacuation Shelter. Shelters will be available for people who have no other place to go. If you must seek public shelter, listen to reliable local media (another reason to have a working portable radio). REMEMBER: Do not go to the shelter until you hear an announcement that it is open.

Want more information?
If you live near the coast you should know the evacuation routes in your area.
For an interactive map showing evacuation routes by State, click here:
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Pet and Animal Tips
Please check with your local Humane Society or Animal Shelter early in the storm season about their individual policies during a hurricane. Remember: virtually every shelter or evacuation center will NOT accept pets!

The following pet safety tips are suggested:

Think Ahead:
Talk to a friend or a family member who lives in a secure area. Ask if their home would be open to you and your companion pet should a storm threaten. This is particularly important if you own horses; ask around to see who owns a barn out of any flood plain.

Plan Ahead:
Always be prepared with identification, vaccinations, proper collars, and stock up on plenty of pet food. During hurricane season you should always have at least a ten day supply of pet food.

Be Responsible:
Do not leave your pet home during a storm. A secure room and a few days food and water do not necessarily mean safety for your pet. After local flooding caused by Hurricane Isabel, many people returned home to find their pets missing. No one know how many pets perished as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Keep a current picture of your pet to identify it to neighbors or Animal Control.

The safest place for large animals to weather the storm is in a large pasture. It should be free of trees; have no overhead power lines; be away from areas that may generate wind driven debris; have low areas where animals can shelter themselves; high areas to provide protection from flooding, and woven fencing. Have a 2 week supply of feed available, stored in waterproof containers, and fill any large vessels with water. All animals should be properly tagged.

After The Storm:
Take caution in allowing your pet outdoors after the storm has passed. Familiar scents and landmarks may have been altered and your pet many become confused or lost. Downed power lines could present real danger. Take precaution not to allow your pet to consume food or water which may have become contaminated.

Want more information?
Print/Download/Save this helpful document on pet preparedness in hurricane season, from the Capital Area Florida Red Cross Chapter:

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Know where to go
Long time residents are well aware of flood prone areas but flash flooding can develop almost anywhere. Avoid driving at night in a storm on roads you do not know. If you drive to water: Turn Around. Don't Drown! Inland flooding produces more deaths than storm surge at landfall! Do not assume if you are inland you need not be concerned with a storm.

* Plan two routes you would use in the event of an evacuation or flooding.

* Be certain you have current road maps. It is imperative you have an idea of where you are and where you're going.

* Know the specific location of your destination. Make prior arrangements to avoid driving around looking for a place to stay.

* If no other location is immediately available, listen to reliable local media for Evacuation Centers. It is extremely import to inform others if you go to an Evacuation Center.

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Protect your business
Know Your Risk.
Is your business located where you are vulnerable to flooding? Is your workplace vulnerable to Tropical Storm force winds? Have your building inspected by a licensed professional.

Take the Necessary Precautions.

If a storm threatens, secure your building.
Cover windows with shutters, plywood or window protection film. Don't use tape to "X" over windows; it wastes time and tape while offering no additional safety. Cover and move equipment/furniture to a secured area. Protect your data with backup files. If dependent on data processing, consider an alternate site. Make provisions for alternate communications and power. Make provisions to work with limited cash, water and sewer, and no power. Store emergency supplies at the office in case it is difficult to get around after the storm.

Protect Your Employees. Employee safety comes first!
Prepare your business plan for flood or storm recovery. Consider providing shelter to employees and their families. Also consider helping employees after the storm with essential supplies. Establish a rendezvous point and time for employees outside of the evacuation area in case damage is severe and communications are disrupted. Establish a call-down procedure for warning and post-storm communications.

Contact Your Customers & Suppliers.
Share your communications and recovery plan in advance.

Review Your Insurance Coverage.
Have your business appraised at least every five years. Inventory, document and photograph equipment, supplies and workplace. Have copies of insurance policies and customer service/home numbers. Obtain Business Interruption Insurance. Consider Account Receivable and Valuable Papers Coverage. Consider Income Destruction Insurance. If you have Business Owners Protection Package (BOPP), check co-insurance provisions.

Want more information?
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management offers a business survival toolkit. These tips are appropriate for a business in any state and is available for free in PDF format here:


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