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Red Cross: Prepare Now for Storms to Come

Now more than ever is the best time for families to take steps to prepare their homes and emergency kits. When hurricanes or tropical storms threaten our area, the American Red Cross closely monitors the situations.

As they prepare their Red Cross teams to respond to the potential impacts of storms, they are encouraging the community to take steps to prepare as COVID-19 may change many of our prior emergency preparedness plans:

• Know the difference between a watch and warning. A WATCH means a hurricane, tropical storm or flooding is possible. A WARNING means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Take immediate precautions.

• Get your home ready. Store outside items, such as lawn furniture and trash cans, to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.

• Tune into your local radio, NOAA radio or news channels for the latest updates. Always obey evacuation orders from local officials.

• Check your emergency kit and replace any missing items.

• Prepare to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations.

• Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.

• Never ride out a severe storm in a mobile home, even if it’s in a non-evacuation zone.

• Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare a pet emergency kit with leashes or carriers, food, water, bowls, cat litter and box, and photos of you with your pet in case you are separated.

• Stay indoors; avoid beaches, riverbanks and floodwaters. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding. Don’t walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown.

• Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Avoid using candles.