for Severe Weather Events
* Pre-plan what conditions will be to force you to leave. Flash flooding
occurs rapidly. Once inland, Tropical Storms travel quickly and can produce substantial
rains in a short period. Take this into consideration when making a decision to evacuate.
* Listen to reliable local media for local conditions. It's also a
good idea to have a battery operated NOAA Weather Radio.
* Everyone may not be at home when the decision to leave is made. Plan how your family
will stay in contact if separated. Pick two meeting places at a safe location from your
home in case of a natural or man-made disaster. Choose an out-of-state family member or
friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to call. When you leave, make sure
this person knows you are doing so.
* A general rule of thumb is to leave immediately if you are in an area that has
experienced flooding and a FLASH FLOOD WARNING has been issued for
* Secure your property as best as you can. If major flooding is a real possibility, move
valuables to the highest floor or place inside major appliances such as a refrigerator or
washing machine and rope or lash shut. Turn off gas and shut the electricity off at the main breaker.
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* Obtain at least a one-week supply of non-perishable foods. Don't forget
a non-electric can opener.
* During the storm, stay inside and away from windows, skylights
and glass doors. If at risk of high winds, find a safe area in your home - an interior,
reinforced room, closet or bathroom on the lower floor. If flooding is a threat, prepare
to leave for higher ground.
* Wait for official word that the danger is over. Don't be fooled
by a break in the storm.
* Offer your home as shelter to friends or relatives who live in
vulnerable areas or mobile homes.
* If you lose power, unplug major appliances, such as the air
conditioner, refrigerator, water heater, microwave and computer to reduce damage. Leave a
light and a radio on so you will know when power is restored.
* If flood waters approach your home, turn off
electricity at the main breaker. Immediately go to higher
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Your Supply List
Tip: when you implement
your Preparedness Plan you can stuff many items in a couple of book bags
children use for school. Everything will be ready if you must leave or it
will be handy if you stay and lose power.
FOOD & WATER
Bottled water ( 1 gallon per day per person) for 5 days
Manual can opener (don't rely on an electric one)
Canned meat, fish, fruit and vegetables
Bread in moisture proof packaging
Cookies, candy, dried fruit
Canned soups, & milk
Powdered or single serve drinks
Peanut butter and jelly
Instant coffee & tea
Flashlight (1 per person)
Portable battery powered lanterns
Glass enclosed candles
Battery powered radio
Battery operated alarm clock
Extra batteries, including hearing aids
Ice chest and ice
First Aid Kit-including aspirin, antibiotic cream, and antacids
Waterproof matches/butane lighter
Plain bleach or water purification tablets
Disposable plates, glasses, and Utensils
Maps of the area with landmarks on it
Portable camp stove or grill
Stove fuel or charcoal, lighter fluid
Disposal eating utensils, plates & cups
Napkins & paper towels
Prescriptions ( 14 day supply)
Photocopies of prescriptions
Entertainment: books, magazines, card games etc
Soap and detergent
Bedding: pillows, sleeping bag
Changes of clothing
Rain ponchos, and work gloves
Extra glasses or contact lenses
Camera & film
Formula, food and medication
Photocopies of prescriptions
Proof of occupancy of residence (utility bills)
Medical history or information
Waterproof container for document storage
Back-up disks of your home computer files
Current copy of your homeowners or renter's insurance.
Dry & canned food for one week
Water (1/2 gallon per day)
Litter box supplies
Tools: hammer, wrenches, screw drivers, nails, saw
Trash bags (lots of them)
Plastic drop cloth
ABC rated fire extinguisher
Masking or duct tape
Outdoor extension cords
One of your home phones (some people lost theirs during Fran, even though their phone
service still worked)
* Emergency shelters provide emergency, short-term shelter to the public.
* Emergency shelters outside flood zones provide a safer place for people who must leave
the hazard areas. All shelters in the path of a hurricane or tropical storm are subject to
* Individuals coming to shelters must bring a complete supply of items to support their
stay in the shelter. Emergency shelters provide no cots or bedding. Supplies such as food
and water may not be available.
* Pets CANNOT go to the shelters. Individuals need to consider other options that include
kennels or the SPCA. Only daily living assistance animals can stay with their owner in the
(see Pets and Animals below)
* Emergency shelters operate under ARC guidelines and provide basic first aid only.
Individuals receiving home health care should consult their physician or home health
provider concerning plans for health care needs and possible evacuation during an
(see People with Special Needs)
* In major hurricanes, inland host shelters will be available in central and western
Virginia. These shelters will be available to local residents and those evacuating from
In-place Sheltering or Staying at Home
* Everyone needs to do preparedness even if your home is reasonably safe and outside flood
zones. A new idea for hurricane preparedness is the safe room. The concept comes from the
tornado regions of the Midwest where residents learn to identify a central area in a
structure away from windows and doors and on the first floor. Bathrooms, central hallway
closets, or areas under stairwells provide the best locations. In hurricanes, families
move into these areas with their disaster supply kits, flashlights, and portable radios or
NOAA weather radios and stay there through the peak of the storm. This area not only
provides protection from the wind, but also from tornadoes associated with hurricanes.
Note: if your home is in a flood plain do not stay there if flooding is eminent.
Pets and Animals in Disasters
* Because pets are not allowed in the shelters, people need to plan alternative care for
their dog, cat, or birds before they go to the public shelter. One avenue is to check with
your veterinarian or kennel to see if they can manage additional boarders. Pet owners
should attach city or county registration and identification tags securely to the pet's
collar. Vaccinations should be current. There are many horses in the Rockbridge area.
Owners of large animals, such as horses, should have a plan and make necessary
arrangements for their animals. For information on pet care, people should contact their
veterinarian or Society for the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Want more information?
If you live near the coast you should know the evacuation routes in your
For an interactive map showing evacuation routes by State, click here:
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What to do First After a Storm
* BE PATIENT.
Access to certain areas might be restricted. It may take several days for
emergency crews to reach your neighborhood. It could also take longer before
utilities are restored.
* Stay tuned to reliable local media for advice
and instructions about emergency medical aid, food, and other forms of
* Have valid ID.
* Avoid driving. Roads will have debris which will puncture you tires!
* Don't sight-see especially at night!
* Avoid downed or dangling utility wires. Metal fences may have been
"energized" by fallen wires. Be especially careful when cutting or clearing
fallen trees. They may have power lines tangled in them.
* If your home has been flooded beware of snakes, insects or animals
driven to higher ground by floods.
* Enter your home with caution. Open windows and dry your home.
* If there has been flooding, have an electrician inspect your home or
office before turning on the breaker.
* Be careful with fire. Do not strike a match until you are sure there
are no breaks in gas lines. Avoid candles. Use battery-operated flashlights
and lanterns instead.
* Keep grilles for cooking outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
* Assess and photograph damages to your home and its contents.
* Use your telephone only for emergencies to keep lines open for
Clean-Up after a Storm
* Call professionals to remove large,
uprooted trees, etc. Always use proper safety equipment such as heavy gloves, safety
goggles, heavy boots, light colored long sleeve shirts and long pants. Tie back long hair
and wear a hat and sunscreen.
* Drink plenty of fluids, rest and ask for help when you need it. Lift with the legs,
not with the back. Don't burn trash. If you can't identify something, don't touch it.
* Be especially weary of downed electrical wires. NEVER touch them or anything they
* Be extremely careful with a chain saw - don't use it for the first time to clear your
yard - and always heed safety warnings.
* Make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and minimize further damage. This
may include covering holes in the roof, walls or windows, bracing and debris removal.
* If you have insurance for renters or homeowners, you'll want to make sure the
insurance company pays you fairly for all covered property and possessions damaged or
destroyed in the disaster. To do that, you'll need to prove that a loss took place and
confirm the value of that loss. If possible, videotape your belongings before a disaster.
If not, try to write down as many of your damaged or missing possessions as soon as
possible right after a storm. Perhaps a friend or relative shot some videotape in your
home. Ask them if you can have the tape to show some of your property.
* Only hire licensed contractors to do repairs. Check with the local Building
Department to ensure the contractor is licensed.
* If you hire a contractor, do not get the permits for them. That is their
responsibility. Don't be fooled by a claim the work can start sooner if you do this for
them. If a contractor requests that you act as the contractor, this may be an indication
that he is not properly licensed and is not entitled to permitting privileges.
* Unless you know and trust the person doing your work, do not pay for repairs in cash.
Let your insurance company pay them.
For Your Safety:
* Whenever widespread flooding occurs there is a potential for bacterial contamination.
Bacteria, such as shigella and salmonella, can lead to life -threatening dehydration for
people and their pets if untreated by antibiotics. Disinfect any tap water you drink or
use for cooking or cleaning. You must purify the tap water until officials notify you of
its safety. Bring water to a rolling boil for a full five minutes or use chemicals (eight
drops of chlorine bleach or iodine per gallon) or water purification tablets, as directed.
Let the water sit at least 10 minutes before using. Water you saved in clean containers
before the storm will be fine for 2-3 weeks. To be sure, add a couple of drops of chlorine
or iodine per gallon before drinking.
* Other precautions to remember: Use disinfected water for brushing teeth, cleaning
contact lenses and washing hands. Keep soap and disinfected water near the toilet for
washing hands. This is an important way to avoid spread of disease. This is especially
important if you have any cuts, etc. Apply a disinfectant such as alcohol or antibiotic
cream after washing with the disinfected water.
* Although not meant to replace or duplicate insurance, numerous
government, nonprofit, and private loans and grants may be available
following a disaster. Program sources include:
* You may be eligible for important tax refunds or deductions (called
casualty loss deductions) or other tax benefits that are available for any
property or possessions damaged or destroyed in a disaster.