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Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches

CDC offers tips to ride out dangerous storms -- before and after they hit

SUNDAY, Sept. 7, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- With Tropical Storm Hanna having bruised much of the U.S. East Coast, and the far more dangerous Hurricane Ike hot on her heels, federal officials are offering checklists of advice for people living in the paths of violent Atlantic storms.

Before-the-storm tips, courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include:

  • If evacuating, pack an emergency supply kit with food, bottled water, prescription medicines, and important documents.
  • If you plan to drive, fill your gas tank as soon as possible.
  • Turn off gas, electricity, and water, and disconnect appliances before leaving.
  • Take steps to ensure your pets' safety during the storm.
  • Follow designated evacuation routes for your area, and expect heavy traffic.

If you plan to stay home during the storm:

  • Pack an emergency supply kit with necessities such as food, bottled water, and prescription medicines to last from three to five days.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home, and make sure that everyone in your house is able to follow the escape plan.
  • Look for escape routes from upper levels of the house, in case of flooding.
  • Don't go outside, even if the weather seems calm. Wait for local authorities to tell you it is safe to go outside.
  • If your home is flooded or damaged, move to a neighbor's or a local shelter.

After the storm:

  • Don't drive through flooded roads, since cars can be swept away or lose power.
  • Never touch a downed power line or anything in contact with one.
  • Turn off electrical power when there are hazards around your home such as standing water, fallen power lines, or gas leaks.
  • Listen to announcements in the local media (radio, television or newspaper) to find out if it's safe to use tap water, and follow instructions regarding water.
  • If you aren't sure if water is safe to use, boil water before you use it for anything, including brushing teeth, cooking, drinking, or bathing.
  • Throw away any food that may have been touched by floodwater.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns and flashlights, instead of candles, to prevent fires.
  • Stoves, generators, lanterns, and gas ranges release dangerous carbon monoxide gas and should always be used outdoors, far away from windows, doors and vents.

More information

To learn more, visit the CDC.

SOURCE: Sept. 5, 2008, news release, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta
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