Hurricane preparedness — or life after Sandy

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New organizations, such as Friends of Freeport, have been formed with a view not only to aid Sandy victims, but also to help serve the community the next time disaster hits. And with global warming (most scientists say) causing more erratic weather, we’re finally getting used to the likelihood that another major storm is a question of when rather than if.

One important lesson of Sandy is that with basic services delayed or nonexistent immediately after such a weather event, people are largely on their own. Now more than ever, you should have the Red Cross guidelines of preparation all but committed to memory:

• Put together a hurricane kit. Pack extra clothing, toiletries and medications.
• Store plywood and sandbags for boarding windows and preventing water damage.
• Keep a three-day supply of water and food.
• Have a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit and a cell phone with a charger on hand.
• Keep copies of personal documents, as well as family and emergency contact information.
• Have cash on hand.
• Check your disaster supplies regularly, and replace or restock as needed.

As a major storm approaches:
• Familiarize yourself with your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register anyone in your family who has special medical needs and plan for your pets to be taken care of.
• Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings and keep them closed so food will last longer if the power goes out.
• Turn off propane tanks and unplug appliances.
• Bring in items like lawn furniture that can be tossed around in a storm.
• Fill your vehicle’s gas tank. (Surely no one should need to be reminded of this one. Remember those post-Sandy gas lines?)
• If advised or ordered to evacuate by authorities, follow their instructions. There’s no end of stories about people who’ve lost their lives trying to ride out a storm.

To learn more, contact the Nassau County Red Cross at (516) 747-3500, or visit the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management website,

After what we all went through last fall, there’s simply no reason not to be prepared.

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