15 Sep 2014
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Public Health Offers Tips for Hurricane Preparedness

With strong winds and rains coming, residents should be ready.

Public Health Offers Tips for Hurricane Preparedness

Editor's Note: In advance with the likely arrival of , Wilmington Director of Public Health Shelly Newhouse has passed along the following list of preparations residents can make to be ready if the weather forecasts of strong winds and heavy rains are correct.

HIGH WIND PREPAREDNESS: BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS

  • Window Covering - The past practice of taping windows is no longer recommended. All tape does is prevent windows from breaking into small pieces. What you need to do is prevent windows from breaking at all. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Hurricane Center and the American Red Cross jointly recommend that all windows be protected with substantial hurricane shutters or covered with 5/8 inch plywood panels. Install hurricane shutters or purchase precut 1/2" outdoor plywood boards for each window of your property. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
  • Jalousie Louvers - Insert newspaper between louvers to prevent rain seepage.
  • Screen Enclosures - Remove panels as well as the aluminum door and panels.
  • Sliding Glass Doors - Brace by tapping wedges in the top track.
  • French Doors - Brace with 2 x 4's
  • Ornamental Shutters - Remove.
  • Attic - Remove valuable items and close the attic door.
  • Roof Turbines - Remove and install covers with screws, otherwise cover the turbines with plastic and tie down securely.
  • Chimneys - cover with caps.
  • Plumbing Vent Stacks - Plumbing vent stacks on the roof should not be closed. They allow sewer gases to escape.
  • Gutters and Downspouts - Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned out. Loose ones from outside should be gathered and brought inside.
  • Dead Tree Branches -  Prune trees so the wind can blow through the branches without snapping them. Remove dead branches. Make sure you securely store the debris. Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.
  • Lock - Lock all windows, exterior doors and gates.
  • Water - Turn off water at the meter to prevent contaminated water from entering the property.
  • Outside Antenna - Remove after disconnecting the television and the power source.
  • Storage Shed - Tie down with straps or thick rope using ground anchors. Lock door.
  • Air Conditioning Units - Wrap with plastic.
  • Ponds / Swimming Pools - Drain approximately one foot of water from the pool/pond (saturated grounds or changes in pressure can force a drained pool out of the ground). Add at least three gallons of chlorine for each 5,000 gallons of water (a 15 x 30 pool contains 15,000 gallons of water). Cut off the electricity to the filter motor, then remove it or wrap it in plastic. Cut off electricity to the pool lights. Do not put furniture in the pool (it can damage pool surfaces). Pool Pump / Fountain Motor should be wrapped with plastic.
  • Fragile Objects - Remove fragile objects from wall shelves. Store them in closets to safeguard them from the storm's vibrations.
  • Faucets - Check and close all faucets.
  • Electrical Apparatuses - Unplug all electrical appliances from wall outlets. Disconnect television antennas from the sets.
  • Windows - Close and lock all windows. Draw blinds, shades, and draperies. Place folded towels on the window sills to absorb leaking water.
  • Patio Doors - Wedge patio doors (at top if possible) so they cannot be torn off.
  • Outdoor Furnishings - Remove outdoor furniture, container plants and decorative objects from patios, terraces, verandahs, and porches. Store them inside so they will not become flying missiles.
  • Generator - Test the generator regularly, so it will be available for emergencies.
  • Check all equipment for readiness - fire extinguishers, first aid kits, tools, etc. 
  • Shutters - Install shutters (commercial type, plywood or Masonite). Check fasteners to make sure they fit snugly against the wall.
  • Garbage Can - Scrubbed clean and dry out. Use for waterproofing items such as charcoal, cat litter, etc. 

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