This week, a powerful mix of wacky weather is expected to hit the East Coast. A major Hurricane (Sandy) combined with Gale force winds, heavy rainfall, flash floods, snow, lightning and thunder will combine to create what the Associated Press is calling Frankenstorm. Experts predict the storm will be a long-lasting event, with two to three days of impact for a lot of people, including wind damage, widespread power outages, heavy rainfall and inland flooding. Scary stuff!
According to meteorologists, Hurricane Sandy is “looking like a very serious storm that could be historic,” said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the forecasting service Weather Underground., “Mother Nature is not saying, ‘Trick or treat.’ It’s just going to give tricks.” While we’re on the topic, I like dog biscuits in my trick or treat bag.
NOAA officials say the brunt of the weather mayhem will be concentrated where the hurricane comes ashore. Nevertheless, there will reportedly be hundreds of miles of steady, strong and damaging winds and rain for the entire Eastern region for several days. Officials across the region are taking steps to prepare for the devastation they believe will cost over a billion dollars:
- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city is striking “a tone of calm preparedness.” Sounds like an oxymoron.
- The National Guard has been summoned.
- Utility companies are lining up out-of-state work crews and canceling employees’ days off to deal with anticipated power outages. I’m sure the employees are happy about that.
- Atlantic City casinos have made contingency plans in case they have to close, as they did for three days last year when Tropical Storm Irene approached. (Meteorologists agree Hurricane Sandy will be more severe than Irene.)
- New York City has opened an emergency situation room and activated a coastal storm plan.
- Virginia has declared a state of emergency.
- From the Carolinas to Maine, municipal authorities kept a close watch on forecasts tracking the shifting path of the impending storm.
People react to weather warnings with varying degrees of alarm. Some batten down the hatches and rush to the store to stock up on necessities, while others take the news in stride and brace for whatever Mother Nature has in store. In fact, last year, Hurricane Irene inflicted major damage from North Carolina to New England, though largely spared New York, where Manhattan restaurants and bars hosted hurricane specials and parties.
Some battle-weary residents have allowed the repetition of weather warnings to thicken their skin, sometimes to their peril. For my part, I take care of our doghouse at the first sign of a storm. But it’s imperative that, no matter how often you hear disaster alerts in your region, take steps to adequately prepare:
- Prescriptions (Don’t forget about pet meds!)
- nonperishable food items
- bottled water (one gallon per person per day, for at least three days)
- Double check the location of your flashlights
- Extra batteries
- Cash (assuming you can get a hold of some of it legally)
- Hand-crank or battery-operated radio so you can stay informed (and listen to music to calm the savage soul.)
- Reach out to neighbors to find out if anyone will be in need of extra assistance.
- Make sure you have adequate insurance.
- Non-perishable food that will last at least three days, per person
- Check supplies in your first-aid kit
- Add a whistle to your supplies, so you will be able to signal for help. But don’t use it unless you have to. Your pets will thank you.
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal windows, doors and air vents and protect you from debris and contaminants in the air.
- Moist towelettes.
- Garbage bags and plastic ties
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- A manual can opener (important for opening cans of dog food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers or solar chargers
- Prescription medicines to last at least a week and eyeglasses (if needed).
- If you have children, make sure to include entertainment items to keep them occupied, like games, cards, crayons and coloring books.
- Pet food, if necessary (And if it isn’t necessary, maybe you should get a pet!)
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system. To learn more about smoking and fire safety, visit the Smoking & Home Fires Campaign page.