8/25/2011

How to Handle a Huge Hurricane

The Atlantic Ocean is a wonder of Creation...except when it is lifted from its usual seabed to surge and rage against the shore because a hurricane named Irene is throwing it around.Below are some links to websites that will help you cope with it, along with a few practical tips for how to survive it. (Note: Mike Smith of Meteorological Musings is always way ahead on these things.)
When the Religious Education Director from my local parish, St. Michael the Archangel in Poplar Springs, MD, spoke two days before Irene hit, she asked me asked if she should send out a blast email to the parish about how to handle Irene.
I said, "That would be good. Please post and send the following notification."
She sent this information and these links to 1400 families in our 4 counties in Mt. Airy, MD. I post in here in hopes it may help you as well.
Prepare spiritually and physically. Pray. Pray always, and if you don't, an earthquake and major hurricane within one weeks should make you begin. Here is how you may prepare physically.
Hurricane Irene updated strike path information and situation...
http://www.emergencyemail.org/newsemergency/anmviewer.asp?a=1352&z=1

MEMA Maryland
http://www.mema.state.md.us/MEMA/index.jsp
Hurricane Irene is forecast to impact the State of Maryland this weekend. Although there are still uncertainties in the final track of the storm, we urge all residents to begin to prepare now.  Please remember that this is a large and powerful storm and it will not need to pass directly over Carroll County to cause heavy rainfall and high winds.
You can receive up to date information on Hurricane Irene directly from the National Hurricane Center at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov and your local National Weather Service office at: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/phi/. Additional information can also be found at. 

Please consider the following items as you prepare for Irene.Make sure your family, friends and other important phone numbers are available.
Know where your family, friends and neighbors are in case you need them or they need you.Have emergency supplies ready BEFORE the storm.
Check your emergency kit. Learn more about what to keep in your kit at http://www.ready.gov
Ensure that insurance information is current and stored in a safe location.
  • Secure any outdoor items.
  • Check and clear rain gutters and drains.
  • Check the serviceability of sump pumps if your home has one.
  • If you must leave your home, do not cross flooded roadways.
  • Ensure that you are registered to receive emergency notifications from the Department of Emergency Services at http://www.ccdes.org
    The National Weather Service has placed Montgomery County under a Tropical Storm Warning as a result of approaching Hurricane Irene.  The current forecast calls for Montgomery County to begin seeing wind and rain on Saturday with gusts around 30mph in early evening.  In the later evening and early Sunday morning hours, winds will continue to increase with gusts up to 50mph possible.  Rain at this time is forecast at only 1 to 3 inches, but Montgomery County is is on the edge of a tight gradient meaning any shift in the storm either west may change the rain amounts significantly. 
     
    Below is important information you and your family can use to stay prepared before, during and after the storm.  You will also find important phone numbers for utilities if your service is disrupted at the bottom of this message.  Just a reminder; Use 911 for emergencies only.  For information about county services or to report trees down after the storm, call 311: 
    Before a Storm 
    • Put copies of important documents in a safe place, preferably a waterproof container. Important documents can include passports, birth certificates, insurance policies or anything else that might be needed immediately or cannot be easily replaced. 
    • Have enough cash for a few days – ATM’s may not work during power outages and stores might not be able to take debit and credit cards. 
    • Make sure vehicle gas tanks are full. 
    • Secure or bring inside exterior items that might become windborne, such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools. 
    • Fill prescriptions that might be needed and stock up on any necessary medical supplies. 
    • Keep flashlights and battery-powered radios with extra batteries on hand, along with a basic first aid kit, emergency food and water, and a non-electric can opener. Have enough non-perishable food and water for at least 72 hours. 
    • Listen to the radio or television for hurricane progress reports. 
    • Clean out gutters. 
    • Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the doors only when necessary and close quickly. 
    • Refrain from putting out trash cans the night before the regular pickup. 
     
    During a Storm 
    • Avoid using candles for lighting. Use a battery-powered flashlight. 
    • Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, since the candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel. 
    • Try to stay in an interior room or away from windows. 
    • Stay calm and do not call 911 unless it is an emergency. 
    • If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker. 
    • During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when power returns. 
    • Do not go outside. Flying debris from high winds is a danger. As the eye of the storm passes, there will be a short period of calm followed by rapid wind speed increases to hurricane force that will come from the opposite direction. 
    After a Storm 
    • Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines. 
    •  Call police or your utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains or overturned gas tanks. 
    • Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road –you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious. 
    • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards. 
    • For downed trees on public property, call 3-1-1 (or 240-777-0311 from outside the County or from a cell phone) or go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/311 at any time to report the problem. If live wires are involved, the tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure, or if persons are trapped under the fallen tree, call 9-1-1. 
    • Trees that have fallen on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The County’s Office of Consumer Protection advises homeowners to deal with established businesses only, and to call Consumer Protection first to check a business’ complaint record. Consumer Protection can be reached at 240-777-3636. 
    • For non-emergency police assistance, call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000. 
    • If case of a power outage, residents are urged to take steps to ensure that food left in the refrigerator and freezer is safe. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be refrigerated at 40° F and frozen food at or below 0° F, which may be difficult with a prolonged power outage. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. A refrigerator will only keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. Food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, soft cheeses, butter and leftover cooked meats, casseroles and pizza should be thrown out if they have been held above 40° F for over two hours. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. To be sure a particular food is cold enough; take its temperature with a food thermometer. Never taste food to determine its safety. 
    • Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors. 
    All utility companies serving our county are monitoring weather conditions and positioning crews to respond in the event of outages.  When system wide-outages occur, restoration efforts begin with facilities that are essential for the protection of public health and safety such as hospitals, law enforcement and fire departments.  After that, the areas with the largest number of outages are restored. 
    Important Utility Numbers: 
    o Pepco: 1-877-737-2662 
    o BG&E: 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123 
    o Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443 
    o Washington Gas: 800-752-7520 
    o WSSC: 1-800-828-4002

    Sent by Montgomery County to Montgomery County Emergency Alert (E-mail accounts, Pagers, cell phones) through Alert Gaithersburg - Powered by the Roam Secure Alert Network
    ----
    - You received this message because you are registered on Alert Gaithersburg. Update your account or authenticate this alert by going to http://alert.gaithersburgmd.gov/myalertlog.php?s_alert_id=1918

    - Tell others about Alert Gaithersburg! by forwarding this message to them and encouraging them go to http://alert.gaithersburgmd.gov to register for this free service.

    Extra bonus tips for Earthquakes:
    Do not call 911 for information about the earthquake, only to report an emergency. 
    If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak: 
    Leave the area immediately and go to a location where you no longer smell gas, and report the leak by calling 911 (If Fire Rescue is not already on the scene). 
    In any event: Do Not:
    • Light matches or smoke. Avoid use of all open flames. 
    • Try to locate the source of the gas leak. 
    • Use any electrical device, including cellular phone, I-pods etc. 
    • Turn light switches On and Off. 
    • Re-enter the building or return to the area until it has been declared safe to do so by Fire Rescue P
    And when Irene is all over, enjoy those phenomenal sunsets that God gives us afterwards. Pour yourself a microbrew Hook and Ladder micro brewery, owned by volunteer fire fighters in Silver Spring, MD gives to burn units so why not try them?) sit a spell, take a deep breath, hold up your glass, and say, "Thank you God sparing me and my family...again!!!"

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