As Hurricane Harvey brews over the Gulf of Mexico, collecting moisture and strength, experts are warning of dangerous winds and more rainfall than this generation has ever seen. Coastal Texas is facing a Category 4 hurricane behemoth that virtually stands still into next week and dumps over 50 inches of flooding.
Despite an evacuation order in several areas, many tough residents are staying put. If you are one of them, here is a list of things that are must-know for your safety when riding out Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Harvey Safety: Before the Hurricane Makes Landfall
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Know your surroundings.
- Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when Hurricane Harvey’s storm surge or tidal flooding are forecast.
- Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
- Make plans to secure your property:
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind from Hurricane Harvey enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Install a generator for emergencies.
- If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
Hurricane Harvey Safety: During and After the Hurricane
- If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are. Let friends and family know your location. You can also call your local police non-emergency number to report any special medical status.
- Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
- Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
- Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away. Turn around, don’t drown.
- Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
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