It helps to have a plan as we deal with a Tropical Storm Warning this weekend in the face of Hurricane Irene. Inside are tips and links to sites that can make sure you’re fully prepared.

What To Do Now

• Create a Family Disaster Plan. Click here for FEMA’s readiness form.
• Decide where you plan to go if you are requested to evacuate. You may go to a hotel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to a Red Cross shelter.
• Put together your disaster supplies as recommended.
• Purchase plywood and window clips so you have the supplies to protect windows, glass doors, and skylights in the event of a storm.
• Plan for pets. Pets often are not allowed in public shelters. If you need to make arrangements for your pet, contact your vet, local SPCA or Humane Society.
• Trim trees to reduce potential damage from falling limbs. Trim them back from house and power lines.
• Clean rain gutters and keep them free of debris. You can create your own flood with clogged drains and gutters.
• Pick up things around your yard that you are no longer using, such as empty plant pots, etc.
• Collect insurance information and important papers. Collect your auto and homeowners or renters insurance policies. Don’t forget health insurance cards, and bring copies of your bank and investment account numbers, since you may not be able to access these accounts online and may need to call instead. Keep all this info in place so it’s easy to find and take with you if needed, preferably in a waterproof container.
• Take a written inventory of personal possessions. Most people couldn’t list all the items in their living room without looking. Make a written inventory now so you’ll know exactly what’s been lost later. A video or digital record also becomes extremely useful during the claims process.
• Put together a first aid kit.
• Prepare your car. Check gas, oil, and water. Also, check your car’s emergency gear, such as a flashlight, spare tire, and jumper cables.
• If you may need to evacuate and don’t have the transportation to do it on your own, register now with your local Emergency Management Office.

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