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Hurricane Preparedness Guide

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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NOTE: CBS 3 & The CW Philly are teaming up with the American Red Cross for an emergency preparedness phone bank to help you take action as Hurricane Irene threatens our area this weekend. The phone bank will be held Friday from 3 – 8 p.m. Call 1-877-KYW3-ASK (1-877-599-3275).

American Red Cross Important Information: Dozens of shelters are being prepared all along the East Coast. People can find open Red Cross shelters by viewing an interactive Google map at www.redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross shelter app for their iPhone from the iTunes store. A mobile-friendly version of the Hurricane Safety Checklist is now available for smart phone users to download at www.redcross.org/mobile.

It’s important that those affected by the storm stay in contact with loved ones and the Red Cross Safe and Well website can help them do that. Safe and Well is a secure, easy-to-use online tool to help families connect in an emergency. People can register by visiting the Red Cross web site or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

American Red Cross Southeastern Pa. Disaster Services: 215-299-4000

BEFORE Hurricane Irene strikes, the Red Cross offers this advice as part of a Hurricane Safety Checklist.

1. Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed.

Those supplies should include the following:

Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
Flashlight
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAAWeather Radio, if possible)
Extra batteries
First aid kit
Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries,glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
Multi-purpose tool
Sanitation and personal hygiene items
Copies of personal documents(medication list and pertinent medical
information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth
certificates, insurance policies)
Cell phone with chargers
Family and emergency contact information
Extra cash
Emergency blanket
Map(s) of the area
Baby supplies (bottles, formula, babyfood, diapers)
Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
Tools/supplies for securing your home
Extra set of car keys and house keys
Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
Rain gear
Insect repellent and sunscreen
Camera for photos of damage

2. Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).

3. Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters.

If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.

4. Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting.

Also, keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.

5. Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.

6. Fill your car’s gas tank.

7. Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan.

Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.

8. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan.

Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for. Plan ahead and practice so that your evacuation is safe, smooth and fast. In an emergency you may have only a few minutes to gather your important papers and leave your home, possibly for good. If you have pets, be sure to identify shelters where animals will be welcome before a storm is imminent.

9. Evacuate if advised by authorities.

Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.

AFTER Hurricane Irene strikes the Red Cross offers this advice as part of a Hurricane Safety Checklist.

1. Continue listening to a CBS 3 or KYW News Radio for local news for the latest updates.

2. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.

3. If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.

4. Drive only if necessary

Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.

5. Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.

6. Stay out of any building that has water around it.

7. Inspect your home for damage.

Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes

8. Use flashlights in the dark.

Do NOT use candles.

9. Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.

10. Check refrigerated food for spoilage.

If in doubt, throw it out.

11. Wear protective clothing .

Be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.

12. Watch animals closely

Keep them under your direct control.

13. Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

For future reference. Experts recommend you take steps to make sure that your home is as safe as possible during a hurricane, and that you find out if your home is protected by insurance:

Maintain an up-to-date inventory of all of your personal property.

A home inventory will help you purchase enough insurance to replace your possessions and can help speed the claims process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. To make this task simple, the I.I.I. offers free, Web-based software and information on how to create and store your inventory at KnowYourStuff.org.

Buy Enough Insurance

- Get enough insurance to rebuild your home and to replace all of your personal belongings.

If you have made a major alteration or improvement to your home, or you have made significant purchases, notify your insurance agent so that the increased value is reflected in your policy.

- Find out how much coverage you have for Additional Living Expenses (ALE).

Additional living expenses coverage pays for the added costs of living away from home, such as hotel bills and restaurant meals, while your house is being repaired or rebuilt. If you rent out part of your home, ALE also replaces lost income for the time you are not able to collect rent. Many policies provide coverage for 20 percent of the amount of insurance you have on your house and may be for a specified time period. Additional coverage is generally available for an extra premium.

Get the Right Type of Policy

- Ask about flood insurance.

Flood damage is not covered under standard home insurance policies. Flood insurance for homeowners and renters is available through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program, which is serviced by private carriers, and from a few specialty insurers. Excess flood insurance is also available from some private insurance companies if you need coverage over and above the $250,000 for property and $100,000 on contents that the NFIP provides.

- Look into getting a guaranteed or extended replacement policy for the structure of your home.

Extended replacement cost coverage pays a certain amount above the policy limit to repair or replace a damaged home—generally 20 to 25 percent. A guaranteed replacement cost policy pays to rebuild your home regardless of cost. Both policies are designed to protect you in the event that after a major disaster the high demand for building contractors and materials forces up the normal cost of reconstruction.

- Ask about replacement cost coverage for your belongings.

When insuring your possessions, you have two coverage choices. One is actual cash value, which replaces your belongings less depreciation. The other is replacement cost coverage, which replaces your property at today’s value—without a deduction for depreciation. A replacement cost policy costs about 10 percent more, but provides more extensive coverage.

Hurricane-Proof Your Home

- Install storm shutters to protect your windows or use plywood panels, which can be nailed to window frames when a storm approaches.

- Make sure exterior doors have at least three hinges and a dead bolt lock that is at least one-inch long. Sliding glass doors should be made of tempered glass and covered with shutters or plywood.

- Replace old garage doors and tracks with a door that is approved for both wind pressure and impact protection. Wind coming into your house through an opening this large can cause serious problems in the rest of your home, especially for your roof.

For a list of emergency management numbers in our area, click here.

Things you can do to protect from wind damage: http://www.disastersafety.org/project?execution=e4s1&projectId=5049

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

CBSPhilly.com Guide To Hurricane Irene

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