Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Preparations

Hurricane Irene reminds us that this is hurricane season in Houston. Below are some hurricane preparation tips from the latest version of The Beacon. We offer prayers for protection for people this weekend for people who live in or own property on the East Coast.

Are you ready? — Hurricane Season is Here!

2011 Hurricane season is here! The most important thing you can do at this time of the year is create a hurricane survival kit. The basics supplies you should stock include water and food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and supplies and important documents. Keep the items that you would most likely need in an easy-to-move container— suggested items are a large, covered trash container, camping backpack, or a duffle bag. These supplies can be used during an evacuation and/or sheltering in place. Remember once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. The following lists will help you assemble your supplies.


• At least 1 (one) gallon of water per day per person for 3-5 days

• Non-perishable dry or canned food: ready-to-eat meats, fruits, vegetables, soups, juices and milk

• High energy snack foods: protein or fruit bars, trail mix, peanut butter and crackers

• Comfort foods: nuts, cookies, sweetened cereals, instant coffee, tea and hard candy

• Salt, pepper and sugar

• Vitamins

First aid

• A kit with bandages, gauze pads, tape, anti-bacterial ointment, hydrogen peroxide, thermometer, anti-diarrhea medication, laxative, aspirin or non-aspirin pain relievers, syrup of ipecac, pain medication, antacids, and tweezers

• Latex gloves

• Toilet paper and personal hygiene items

• Paper towels and facial tissues

• Hand sanitizer (Waterless soap saves water for drinking and cooking.)

• Mosquito/insect repellent and sun screen

• Special needs items such as prescription medications (minimum two-week supply), eye glasses, contact lens solutions, hearing aid batteries and other personal items


• Clothing (at least one complete change of clothes per person including one long sleeve shirt)

• Bedding (blankets, pillows and sleeping bags)

• Sturdy work shoes or boots

• Raincoat, hat and gloves

• Sunglasses

Tools and Supplies

• Eating and cooking utensils, paper plates and cups

• Manual can opener

• Liquid detergent and household chlorine bleach

• Plastic bucket and lid

• Aluminum Foil and plastic wrap

• Zip bags (all sizes)

• Matches or lighters in a waterproof container

• Battery-operated radio and extra batteries

• Flashlights (one per person) and extra batteries

• Scissors and assorted safety pins

• Duct tape (useful for clean-up or patching leaks)

• Assorted screwdrivers and screws, pliers, hammer and nails plus shut-off tool for gas and water lines

• Plastic sheeting

• Shovel, utility knife, hatchet and crowbar

• Whistle (one per person)

• Heavy duty plastic garbage bags

• Cell phone, cell phone batteries and extra chargers (Note: Include a telephone that plugs directly into a wall jack.)

• Also pack books, games, puzzles, cards, notebook paper and pencils.

Important Documents

• Insurance & medical records, passports, deeds, bank account numbers, credit card account numbers and companies, inventory of valuable household items, family records (Social Security cards, birth, marriage and death certificates), etc.

• Copies of important keys

• Backup of computer files (on a CD, DVD, USB drive, etc.)

• List of important contact phone numbers stored in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag.


Shelter-in-place means occupants remain inside their home or other building for increased safety and security, weathering the storm and the storm's aftermath without evacuating. This means having food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for a minimum of three days.

Needed Shelter-in-Place items

• Disaster kit supplies

• AM/FM/Weather band radio with extra batteries

• Flashlight and extra batteries

• Corded phone

• Permanent markers and paper

• Dust masks

• Carbon monoxide detector

• Plastic sheeting

• Duct tape

• Whistle

How to Shelter-in-Place at home:

• Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.

• Close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.

• Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.

• Close the fireplace damper.

• Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, sinks, jugs, bottles and cooking utensils. TIP: First sterilize bathtubs and sinks with bleach, then flush with water to remove bleach.

• Go to an interior room without windows that's above ground level.

• Bring your family disaster supplies kits with you.

• Also bring your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.

• Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.

Remember: Your single greatest information source before, during and after an emergency will be your battery-powered radio.

Sheltering-in-place questions and answers

What does bleach do?

When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.

Or in an emergency you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops from a medicine dropper or 1/8 teaspoon of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Stir and let stand for 30 minutes. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

What type of radio is best?

An AM/FM/Weather band radio that can be powered by batteries AND plugged into an electrical outlet is your best choice for an emergency. However, any battery-powered radio will do.

Why a carbon monoxide detector?

Deadly carbon monoxide from a generator outside your house can filter in through vents or open windows. You would never know it was happening without an inexpensive detector.

Why a corded phone?

A corded phone can be used during a power outage, since it doesn't plug into an electrical outlet. The long cord means you can take it to the safest part of your house.

Why plastic sheeting?

It can be used with duct tape to seal doors, windows, and air vents at home, and offers some protection from contaminated air, hazardous materials and bad weather.

Is my food safe to eat?

Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40° F and frozen food at or below 0° F. This is difficult when the power is out. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if half full) if the door remains closed. Fill the freezer and refrigerator with water bottles to occupy more space. You also can wrap the refrigerator/freezer in a blanket to keep it insulated and preserve foods longer.