The impact of Hurricane Sandy on members of the SHU community and their families varied widely depending on location and circumstances. However, the experience of Sandy has reaffirmed to all the importance of individual and family emergency preparedness:
- Be prepared to shelter-in-place or to evacuate (both at home and at your workplace). Have a disaster supply kit that you can use at home or take with you if you evacuate. Include water, non-perishable food, flashlights and lanterns, a battery powered AM/FM radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, clothing appropriate to the season including rain gear, sanitation and personal hygiene items, sleeping bags or bedding, your prescription medications, cell phone, copies of important documents, and cash. Don’t forgot special care items for infants and the elderly, if needed. Have a smaller “Go Kit” available for your personal use at work or in your car.
- Have a family emergency plan including family cell and landline telephone numbers, a designated out-of-state contact, directions to designated family assembly points both in and out of your area, evacuation routes, maps, and information regarding any special medical needs of family members.
- Monitor the approach of impending storms and news regarding ongoing emergencies. Know the sources for official information. Have means to monitor broadcasts even when electrical power is lost such as the use of a battery powered radio. Have an alternate power source for your computer or smart phones (such as a car charger or an automobile jump start power pack with DC or USB power ports) so that you can communicate.
- During the approach of a major storm make sure to top off your vehicle’s fuel. Power failures may prevent your local gas stations or gas stations along your evacuation route from being able to pump available fuel.
- Prepare to look after your neighbors. Make arrangements to assist neighbors who are elderly or have special needs. Help them prepare, check on their condition during the emergency, and provide assistance according to your capabilities.
- Before a disaster strikes, participate in disaster related skills training (such as CERT training, first aid, CPR/AED, etc.).
- Be ready to follow the instructions of the emergency authorities. If ordered to evacuate from home or workplace, leave when instructed to do so and bring your home disaster supply kit or your car/workplace”Go Kit”. If ordered to shelter-in-place, take refuge in a protected area of your building (location determined by the nature of the hazard and instructions from authorities).
Depending on the nature and scope of the emergency, assistance from emergency responders as well as the restoration of infrastructure and public utilities can be delayed for significant periods of time. Your efforts to prepare for an emergency can help mitigate its impact on you, your family, and your neighbors until help arrives and services are restored.