The “Frankenstorm” that’s expected to place tens of millions of people in danger when Hurricane Sandy combines with a cold front coming off the Great Plains is not to be taken lightly. Time is running out to prepare for the storm, particularly Hurricane Sandy, but the safety precautions that residents in the Mid-Atlantic States should take have an importance that can’t be overestimated.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency advised residents to know their surroundings before the storm hits. They should know what streets are most susceptible to flooding and what routes are the safest in the event of an evacuation.
FEMA also warned people in high-risk areas to trim any trees or major shrubs near their home in case the branches snap and break a window in high winds. All outdoor furniture and trash cans should be secure while plywood and storm shutters are encouraged to prevent glass shatter.
The most important safety precaution someone can take during Hurricane Sandy is to stay indoors. Stand away from glass doors and windows while paying attention to news updates on TV or, in the event of a power outage, a battery-powered radio. Propane tanks should be turned off and gas stoves should never be used to heat a small area.
Driving is also incredibly dangerous. Winds are expected to reach 80 mph and could stay at that rate for as long as 24 hours. Hazardous road conditions are almost certain to include fallen trees, heavy snow and rain and extremely limited visibility. There’s also the chance that, depending on someone’s location, their car could get stuck on a flooded streets. Safety officials advised vehicle owners to keep their car fueled with at least a half tank of gas.
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“The time for preparing and talking is over. People need to be acting now,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told ABC.
Some meteorologists have dubbed the Frankenstorm “The Perfect Storm” because of the cold front’s combination with Hurricane Sandy along with tide patterns that only come when the moon is full. Flooding is expected in areas of New York City because New York Harbor and Long Island Sound are forecast to be 11 feet over their normal sea level.
The National Hurricane Center suggested the public prepare by having enough water and nonperishable food for each person in the household to last seven days, have first aid supplies at the ready, have important documents like medical records and birth certificates in waterproof containers, blankets and pillows, and cash and credit cards. Also deemed essential are flashlights, batteries, charged cell phones and battery-operated radios.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told his state to be prepared to be without power for as long as a week or 10 days. ABC reported that Christie also advised to residents not to panic and keep their common sense about them in the event of emergency. And to never bring a gas generator indoors.
“If it looks stupid, it is stupid,” he said.