How to prepare for Frankenstorm
by Cassady Sharp
It's already being called the storm of the century with $1 billion in projected damages. Meteorologists expect "Frankenstorm", the product of Hurricane Sandy coming from the South, a snowstorm coming from the West and a cold front from the North, to arrive on the East Coast by Monday. We're hoping the wrath of this superstorm is minimal, but here are some tips on preparing for the worst. 1. Assemble a disaster kit. Have something prepared that you can easily travel with if need be. Included in this kit should at least be plenty of water, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, a first-aid kit, radio, map, charged cell phones with chargers, prescription medications, protective clothing and pet food if you're a pet owner. If you are traveling in a car, be sure to have additional jumper cables, gas and shovels or scrapers for snow or ice. 2. Know where to go and how you'll get there. Be aware of local evacuation routes and prepare a plan for where you and your family will go. Be sure to have gas in your car or a way to travel with someone if you don't have a car. If travel is not an option, be aware of local shelters that are available. Keep a list of emergency numbers and family numbers that's readily available and doesn't live on a device that could die. 3. Be aware of how your home is most at risk. Evaluate what is most likely to happen to your home if the storm is as worse as expected. Do you live in a basement apartment in a coastal area? Flooding may be your biggest issue then so protect valuable belongings by moving them to a higher area and covering them in waterproof material. If your surrounded my lots of trees, you may be at higher risk of damage from strong winds. 4. Prepare your home Cover all of your homes windows. If you don't have permanent storm shutters, board up windows with plywood. Tape will not prevent your windows from breaking. Secure all doors, particularly garage doors. If doors can fly open, the wind can cause serious damage. Secure any loose outdoor furniture or more indoors. You can avoid a lot of damages by simply securing objects that the wind could potentially pick up. 5. Protect valuable belongings One way to mitigate costs once a storm has hit is to protect valuable belongings such as computers, cell phones or jewelry. Find a place where it is the least likely to be damaged perhaps in a safety deposit box stored in a high place away from windows. 6. Be prepared for dead technology. If you lose power and Internet, how will you communicate with friends and family? Decide on a meeting place or plan to communicate. Consider using this Family Emergency Plan and circulating among family and friends so everyone is on the same page before the storm hits. Keep resources of phone numbers including local emergency numbers and important locations that exist in hard copy. Try to have a supply of cash in case you can't use your credit card or find an ATM machine. Visit the National Weather Service for more information. Hopefully, we'll all get through this storm with lights on and minimal damage!