Residents urged to prepare ahead of storm

From staff reports

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents and visitors to closely monitor Arthur and take steps now.

Most importantly, everyone should follow the direction of their state, tribal and local officials, according to a FEMA press release.

Safety and Preparedness Tips

• Refresh their emergency kits and review family plans. If you do not have an emergency kit or family plan, or to learn about steps you can take now to prepare your family for severe weather, visit www.ready.gov.

• Be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for their pets. Visit ready.gov or listo.gov to learn these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms.

• Know your evacuation zone and be sure to follow the direction of state, tribal and local officials if an evacuation is ordered for your area.

• Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. It poses a significant threat for drowning and can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area. Storm surge can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.

• Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

• If you encounter flood waters, remember — turn around, don’t drown.

• Tropical Storms have the potential for tornado formation. If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the center of a small interior room (closet, interior hallway) on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.

• Get to know the terms that are used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.

For a hurricane:

• A Hurricane Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 74 mph poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.

• A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 mph or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

For a tropical storm:

• A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 mph or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.

• A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 mph or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.

For coastal flooding:

• A Coastal Flood Watch is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is possible.

• A Coastal Flood Warning is issued when moderate to major coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.

• A Coastal Flood Advisory is issued when minor or nuisance coastal flooding is occurring or imminent.

• More safety tips on hurricanes and tropical storms can be found at ready.gov/hurricanes.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Food safety tips

Here is a list of steps to follow before, during, and after Tropical Storm Arthur, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service

Before Arthur:

• Make sure the freezer is at 0 °F (Fahrenheit) or below and the refrigerator is at 40 °F or below.

• Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out.

• Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately-this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

• Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.

• Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.

• Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.

• Group food together in the freezer—this helps the food stay cold longer.

During and after Arthur:

• Never taste a food to determine its safety!

• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

• The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).

• Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.

• Obtain block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.

• If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below, the food is safe.

• If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.

• Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.

• When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

If Flooding Occurs:

• Drink only bottled water that has not come in contact with flood water. Discard any bottled water that may have come in contact with flood water.

• Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance it may have come in contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps.

• Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers that may have come in contact with flood water.

• Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved.

• Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water. Sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.

Boating tips

For information on how to prepare your boat or trailer for a hurricane, please visit http://www.uscg.mil/news/stormcenter/.

For information on Tropical Storm Arthur’s progress and hurricane preparedness, visit the National Hurricane Center’s Web page at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s site to stay informed and for tips to prepare and plan for the storm at http://www.ready.gov/.

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