The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) noted today (9/12/08) that Hurricane Ike is now expected to impact Texas and Louisiana, with the storm bringing rain and wind to additional states as it moves inland. Homeland Security officials are urging people to listen to their local authorities, and if told to evacuate, to do it immediately. For residents not in evacuation zones who are sheltering in place, ensure they have supplies to sustain them and their family for at least three days. Should people have to go outside, be careful of downed power lines and do not attempt to drive through flooded roads.
Hurricanes often produce high winds, tornadoes, large amounts of rain and power outages that can affect citizens for days after the initial storm has passed. Therefore, it is important for residents to have at least a three-day supply of water for each individual in the family, including pets, along with non-perishable food, a first aid kit, battery-powered radio, extra batteries and a flashlight.
If asked to evacuate, it is recommended that people have a “to go” bag ready and include: maps/evacuation routes; important documents such as proof residence, pictures of your family including pets, insurance policies, and tax records; comfortable clothing and blankets; and unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have.
In light of the impending strength of Hurricane Ike, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urges everyone in the affected areas to take steps now to protect their businesses, schools, homes, and their community and to heed the warnings of federal and state officials. ASSE is offering the following information at its Web site:
Hurricane Season Preparation Tips
Business Resumption Safety Tips
Clean-Up Tips for Flood-Related Mold
Workplace Emergency and Crisis Preparation Checklist
Hazmat Emergency Safety Information
Emergency Preparation Plans
Key Emergency Preparedness and Response Resources
Hazmat Emergency Response Resources
Homeland Security Department’s Emergency Preparedness Quiz
In addition to ASSE’s and OSHA‘s Web sites, residents in affected areas are advised to go to the Homeland Security’s Web site for an emergency supply checklist, an emergency plan, and link to local information. Individuals can also call 1-800-BE-READY or 1-888-SE-LISTO for more emergency preparedness information.
Word of advice to those in the path of Ike: do it now before power, Internet, and phone service is no longer available.