It’s been exactly one year since an October snowstorm devasted much of our state, and just over a year since we were hit by Tropical Storm Irene. The memories of destruction, flooding and power outages are still quite fresh in our minds. Once again, preparation is of key importance.
As Hurricane Sandy sweeps up the East Coast and prepares for a very likely and intensive impact on Southern New England early next week, I’m urging my constituents to prepare for the storm by following advice from state and federal emergency experts.
This post is designed to provide you with useful tips, contact information and resources. You might consider printing this out in case you lose power.
Hurricane Emergency Preparedness
The Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has updated information regarding Hurricane Sandy, including the state’s preparedness information. Please visit ct.gov/hurricane for important emergency information.
Visit www.ctalert.gov to sign up for CT Alert Emergency Notification System (ENS). Other than your land line, you can also sign up to get notifications through your cell phone, e-mail, text message, or fax, among other communication devices. You can also check to see if your town participates in the state’s Reverse 9-1-1 system.
In the event of power outages, have the phone numbers to your local electric provider:
CL&P Storm Center: 860-947-2000
United Illuminating Storm Center: 1-800-722-5584
Telephone lines down, dial 611
Each town and city is required to have an emergency preparedness plan, including set evacuation routes. That information and more can be found by using the following phone numbers and links:
Local emergency management - 203-453-8056
Hurricane hotline - 203-245-5681
Emergency shelters - The gym at Town Campus (off Duck Hole Road) and North Madison Congregational Church (at intersection of Routes 80 and 79)
Branford Office of Emergency Management - 203-315-3914
Primary Emergency Shelter: John B. Sliney School (23 Eades Street)
Emergency Preparation Guide
Emergency Operation Center - 203-484-9549, 203-484-2196
Stormline - 860-343-6735
Emergency alerts - www.townofdurhamct.org/saferdurham
Preparing for a Hurricane
SECURE YOURSELF IN YOUR HOME
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- If you have a boat, determine how and where to secure it.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
- Remember your pets! They should be kept indoors, with a collar and identification and ample food and water.
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows, another option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm—winds will pick up again.
- If necessary, take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level, or lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
IF YOU HAVE TO EVACUATE YOUR PROPERTY
- When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods—such as sirens or telephone calls—also are used.
- Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions. Some portable radios also run by a hand-powered crank.
- Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves.
- Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a real risk of flooding.
- Close and lock doors and windows.
- Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a cap.
- Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages.
- Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
- Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather, and be alert for washed-out roads and bridges.
- Do not drive into flooded areas.
- Avoid downed power lines.
A FAMILY EMERGENCY KIT SHOULD CONTAIN
- At least one gallon of water per person for 3 to 7 days
- Food to last 3 to 7 days, including: non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices; foods for infants or the elderly; a non-electric can opener; cooking tools and fuel; and paper plates and plastic utensils
- Blankets, pillows, etc.
- Seasonal clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes
- First aid kit, including medicines and prescription drugs
- Toiletries and hygiene items
- Flashlight with batteries
- Battery-operated radio and a NOAA weather radio
- Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
- Cash (with some small bills) and credit cards, since banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
- Toys, books and games
- Important documents in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag, including insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
- Tool set to keep with you during the storm
- Fully fueled vehicles
Consumer Protection During Emergencies
We want to make sure you have all the information you need to protect yourself from physical and financial harm. That’s why you should know that Connecticut’s price-gouging laws take effect once the governor has declared a state of emergency. The following restrictions would then apply:
- No one shall increase the price of any retail item in a location which is subject to a disaster emergency declaration issued by the Governor. This section shall not prohibit the usual fluctuation in price that occurs during the normal course of business. (Section 42-230)
If consumers believe a business is charging an unreasonable price, or has raised its price to take advantage of the emergency, they can contact theDepartment of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649.