For the first time in nearly a century, a powerful tropical storm is heading towards Southern California. As the Category 4 storm moves through Mexico, Southern California is bracing for potentially historic rainfall and flooding.
Here are some useful tips to prepare ahead of the storm making landfall.
MAKE A PLAN
The National Weather Service recommends gathering all essential information and items before a storm. Plan ahead of the storm rather than when it's rapidly approaching and make sure your loved ones are also aware of the plan.
This includes writing down all emergency phone numbers and keeping them in a very accessible place like on the refrigerator or near all phones in your home. These numbers should also be stored in your cell phone.
Officials recommend preparing an emergency kit, which should have the following:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Flashlight First aid kit Extra batteries Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- 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) Manual can opener (for food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
The list of essential needs varies from person to person, but officials also recommend being prepared with the following items:
- Soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
- Prescription medications with enough to last in case you have difficulty getting a refill
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
- Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler's checks
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
An emergency plan and kit should be readily accessible in your home, car, and even your workplace.
Ahead of a storm, it is also encouraged that you should locate the nearest shelter and different routes you can take to get there from your home just in case. If there aren't already established shelter locations in your area, you should instead learn how to find them in the event of a storm.
If you have pets, officials recommend that you research and identify pet-friendly shelter or hotels. If those aren't an option, officials say to find an out-of-town friend or relative where you can take your pets in the case of an evacuation.
If you are a homeowner, property owner, or a car owner, the National Weather Service recommends that you take the time to review any and all insurance policies to make sure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
Officials suggest that you fill your car’s gas tank before a storm, move cars and trucks into your garage or under cover, and always keep an emergency kit in your car.
In order to prepare your home, you should do the following:
- Clear your yard and make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home.
- Move all outdoor items such as bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and building material to a space inside or under shelter.
- Cover up windows and doors. If necessary, use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the outside window frames to protect your windows. This can help keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass.
- Be ready to turn off your power in case of flooding, downed power lines or in the event that you will have to leave your home.
- Fill clean water containers with drinking water or have plenty of bottled water stocked in case you lose your water supply during the storm. You can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.
- Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s battery to prevent CO poisoning