For my entire life I’ve lived in NJ and PA, but never closer than two hours travel to the Jersey shore. I never had to fear living near a fault line for earthquakes to happen. Not living near the southern shores of the US, I never had to worry about experiencing hurricanes either. I can only imagine the heartache felt by those who have experienced these terrible storms. They’ve had to evacuate homes and many have lost their homes in the process of hurricane force winds and flooding due to storm surge.
Is your family prepared to safely ride out a storm or other severe weather? What are the dangers of these types of storms? Winds and floods can ruin homes. Also, potential blackouts are significant issues. For example with Hurricane Sandy, it has been labeled as the worst storm the northeast coast of the US has ever seen.
The main goal during a hurricane is to get as far away from the shoreline as possible and get to higher ground. If you can get to shelter on higher ground, you and your family should be safe, considering you have enough, adequate food supply, water, batteries and flashlights. Sometimes people make mistakes during such storms and here are some tips to keep you and your family safe.
It’s vitally important to remember that should you experience a power outage for more than a few hours, your perishable foods won’t be safe to eat. The magic hour is four, so don’t eat any of the perishable foods from your refrigerator if your power has been out for more than four hours. The good news is that if your freezer is packed full and isn’t opened, then that food will stay frozen for 48 hours. It’s important to remember that if your freezer is only half-full, then the safety window is cut in half—24 hours. These time frames only pertain to situations where the freezers and refrigerators remain closed and aren’t constantly opened and closed. Keep in mind that the more times you open the doors, the more time you erase from how long the food will last. Of course, if your food looks or smells bad, play it safe and throw it out. Here’s the link for the Centers for Disease Control to find out more information on when food is spoiled: these tips from the CDC.
Where it concerns generators, be careful. They are lifesavers during blackouts, especially when it’s winter and the temperatures are freezing outside and you can use the generator to keep the heat on. As a generator runs, carbon monoxide gas is emitted. The problem here is that this gas is colorless and odorless and impossible for the human senses to detect. According to the CDC, “each year carbon monoxide poisoning sends approximately 15,000 Americans to the emergency department and kills nearly 500.” You should never place a running generator in your home or garage. Even if you have the garage door or windows open, it’s still not safe. It’s recommended that the generator is placed outside your home, twenty feet from doors and windows. Carbon monoxide monitors with back up batteries should be placed near all the bedrooms in your house.
Check out this article for more tips on staying safe: Dr. Bessers 3 Tips for Riding Out Storms Safely.