Hurricane may strike area; state offers tips

October 26, 2012
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Hurricane Sandy may strike the Boston area early next week as a major storm with heavy rain and strong winds. Even if the storm does not directly hit Massachusetts, it still may have significant local impact. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) says that residents should prepare now for possible power outages, flooding and property damage. MEMA offers the following tips:

  • Make sure you have a well-stocked Family Disaster Kit in the event you lose power or are isolated for a number of days. That should include a three-day supple of food and bottled water and battery-operated flashlights and a radio.
  • Trim back trees and shrubbery around your home. Remove diseased or damaged tree limbs that could be blown down, causing damage, during a storm.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters. This storm brings the potential for torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
  • Bring in outdoor items such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings that can be broken or picked up by strong winds and used as a missile.
  • Make sure storage sheds, children’s playhouses or other outbuildings are securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors.
  • Elevate articles in your basement that could be damaged from even minor flooding.
  • Make temporary plywood covers to protect windows and sliding doors. Drill holes for screws or lag bolts in each cover and around each window. Note: Taping of windows does not prevent them from breaking.
  • Keep you vehicles fully fuelled.
  • Have a certain amount of cash available.  If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.
  • Make a record of your personal property.  Keep an itemized list of your furniture, clothing and valuables to assist adjusters in case of a claim. Back it up with photographs or video.
  • Protect your insurance policies and other important documents in a secure place like a safe deposit box or a watertight box. Many people back up important documents online.
  • Learn where gas pilots and water mains are located and how to safely shut off all utilities.
  • Lock doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and rain.
  • Boat owners, who plan on taking their vessel out of the water soon, should consider doing so this weekend.
  • Download the free ping4alert! app to your Smartphone to receive important weather alerts and messages from MEMA.  Easy instructions are available at www.mass.gov/mema/mobileappp.