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Are You Ready for a Hurricane?

Play it safe with the food in your refrigerator!

If power goes out:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food safe for about four hours if the door stays closed. A full freezer will keep food frozen for about 48 hours; a half-full freezer will stay cold for about 24 hours.

When power returns:

  • Throw away refrigerated food (meat, poultry, fish, eggs) that has been exposed to temperatures of 40° F (4° C) for two hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing foodborne illnesses can grow quickly.
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Hurricane season is here, and Laborers who live and work in parts of the country where these storms strike must take steps to protect their families and homes from the effects of heavy rainfall, high winds and floods.

Create a disaster supply kit. This kit should include:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Consider purchasing a generator, grill or camp stove to use outside. Gasoline, propane, natural gas and charcoal­-burning devices should never be used inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate the unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

Hurricane-proof your home. Install storm shutters and make sure all windows and doors are secured with the appropriate hinges and bolts.

Create a home inventory. Conduct a full inventory (with photos) of all major possessions. This will speed the claim process.

Get the right type of insurance. Make sure you have enough insurance to rebuild your home and to replace your personal belongings. Consider purchasing flood insurance as flooding is not routinely covered by a homeowner’s policy. Renters can also purchase flood insurance. Know your policy numbers and insurer contact information.

Create an evacuation plan. Have an out-of-state friend/relative as a contact so everyone in your family has a single point of contact. Keep vehicles filled with gas and keep cash on hand. If you are forced to leave your vehicle, wrap it with tarps or padding to protect it from saltwater.

Forty-five million people live – millions more visit – in hurricane-prone communities. In areas where these violent storms are likely, planning ahead can minimize the danger.

[Janet Lubman Rathner]

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