The organization issued the following press release today on Hurricane Sandy:
The American Red Cross is urging people to begin their preparedness actions as forecasts continue to predict a significant impact from Hurricane Sandy.
“Now is the time to check your emergency supplies, do safety checks around your home and review plans for evacuation if that needs to become an option,” said American Red Cross spokesperson Paul Shipman.
“We don’t know what Sandy may ultimately bring to us, but there could be flooding or wind damage that would disrupt power and potentially force people to leave their homes,” Shipman said. “We want people to be ready to spend a few days without power or to be able to leave their homes quickly, if ordered.”
Shipman listed the basic items that should be part of a family emergency kit:
- Water—one gallon per person, per day ( a minimum 3-day supply)
- Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (a minimum 3-day supply)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and any special medical items needed by family members
- 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 – ATMs will not function in power outages
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
Shipman said, when planning for your food, water and medical needs, “Don’t forget your pets.”
If the storm, which is forecast to bring high wind and heavy rains, knocks out power, Shipman offered tips for coping with the outage safely:
- Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting; never use candles
- Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out
- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer unnecessarily to preserve food
- DO NOT run a generator inside a home or garage
- If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. DO NOT connect a generator to a home’s electrical system – that’s a job for a professional electrician.
- Keep tuned to local radio and television for updated information
Because the storm may bring both wind and rain, Shipman offered some additional suggestions:
- Fill your vehicle’s fuel tank before the storm – gas stations may not have power after the storm
- Bring in any lawn furniture or small items that could become wind-blown hazards to life and property
- Stay off roads if advised by authorities to do so. If you must travel, do not drive through standing water, which could hide other hazards or strand your vehicle
- If you encounter downed power lines, consider them live and report them to your local utility.
Shipman said the Red Cross is preparing for the storm. “We are contacting our volunteers to determine their availability, checking our supplies and readying our plans.” He said the Red Cross is communication with state and local government officials to coordinate their efforts.
The best thing that people can do right now, Shipman said, is to take personal preparedness steps at home. “The work you put into planning and preparing now can significantly reduce the disruption caused by this storm.”