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Disaster preparation now can save your life later
Tropical Storm Isaac downed trees in Miami, damaging property throughout southern Florida. (Source: WSVN/CNN)
Houses in New Orleans were destroyed by flood waters after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina. Some homes floated off their foundations and bumped into others homes or came to rest on streets. (Source: Marvin Nauman/FEMA)
Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:42:24 GMT
According to WTVA, an Amber Alert has been issued for a missing Lowndes County toddler. Lowndes County Chief Deputy Marc Miley says they are searching for 2-year-old Malia Harris of Columbus. OfficialsMore >>
Georgia officials believe suspects in the Mississippi Amber Alert case may be in southwest Georgia. Cook County, GA investigators have been actively searching the Lenox area for the suspects. Officials confirmed a heavy presence of law enforcement in that area Wednesday night.More >>
Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:49 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:49:58 GMT
The following is a news release from the Mississippi State Department of Health: Food Facility Inspection "C" Results Inspection reports for the past seven days Mississippi food facilities are gradedMore >>
The facilities below received a grade of C for a critical violation which may have been corrected at the time of inspection, or a critical violation repeated from their last inspection.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:12 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:12:46 GMT
Innocent until proven guilty. 21-year-old Markuieze Bennett died from a brutal attack inside the Hinds County Detention Center during a jail riot back in March. Markuieze Bennett had been sitting inMore >>
Twenty-one -year old Markuieze Bennett died from a brutal attack inside the Hinds County Detention Center during a jail riot back in March. Bennett had been sitting in jail since 2012.More >>
(RNN) - New Orleans, which is still recovering from one of the most disastrous and expensive hurricanes in U.S. history, is keeping a wary eye on Isaac. Other residents along the Gulf Coast are preparing and evacuating for the impending storm - but how exactly do you prepare for a storm with the potential to cause major damage?
How to prepare before the disaster
The time to prepare your home is long before a disaster or severe weather event happens. It's vitally important to make a plan and have the supplies necessary to either take shelter after a storm, or evacuate on short notice.
Darryl Madden, FEMA's Ready campaign director, said the most important thing to do is to plan ahead.
That includes knowing what to do in several disaster scenarios, from tornadoes to hurricanes to wildfires, and making a plan with your family.
He said it's a good idea to sit down and imagine what would happen - and what you would need - if the power went off for an extended period of time.
He also said communication is vitally important, whether you need to call emergency services or get in touch with relatives, friends and neighbors to let them know where you are, and how you're doing.
"Have a communications plan," Madden said. That includes things like an NOAA weather radio and phone access.
He said it's best to get a crank-powered radio so it doesn't rely on any energy other than what you can generate yourself in case the power goes out. Another thing you want to look at is a solar-powered phone charger, so if you're without power for an extended period of time, you can still communicate.
Next, you need to have the supplies necessary to survive at least 72 hours on your own. In heavily hit or rural areas, it can take rescue personnel a long time to make it to you.
"You want to have three days' worth of water for each individual," Madden said. "Any resources that they need, obviously, food and water is their primary concern."
He said the most important things are water, a first-aid kit and a flashlight, followed by necessary medications and specific needs such as formula and diapers for small children. He also said non-perishable food is not a bad idea to keep on hand.
"It's not something you have to focus on every time, just you know when you go to the store, grab a couple of things that will keep," he said, and advised storing the food somewhere besides the pantry so it's out of the way.
He also said that people with critical medical conditions that require special treatment, such as dialysis patients, should get in touch with their local emergency manager, fire department, or EMA to inform them ahead of time about your condition. That way emergency personnel know where you are in case of a disaster.
You can find a full list of precautions and responses to have in case of specific emergencies at http://www.ready.gov.
If you have to evacuate
If you have to evacuate, the No. 1 thing to keep in mind is that you'll have to move very quickly. As part of that, Madden said you'll want an evacuation kit to be light and easy to move.
It should include things such as water, food, extra clothing, medicine, medical support and any important paperwork.
Also, don't leave Fido behind. If conditions are not safe for people, they aren't safe for animals.
If you have a pet, the ASPCA listed a few guidelines for keeping them safe. They include preparing ahead of time and arranging a safe haven, or caregiver, for your pet if you can't take them with you, and keeping emergency supplies such as a leash and collar or cat carrier and food with your evacuation kit.
The full list of precautions you can take for a pet in the event of a disaster can be found on the ASPCA's website.
Madden, however, emphasized that in the case of an emergency, human life takes precedence over that of pets.
"You have to make critical decisions, if time is of the essence, save yourself," he said.
But he said planning ahead now can prevent making difficult decisions later.
How to prepare your home
Once a year, you should look over your homeowner's insurance to make sure your home and belongings are covered.
"Understanding your policy is really good heading into any storm season, this is a good time to review it, understand your coverage and understand your deductible," said State Farm spokesperson Missy Dundov.
Dundov said sometimes homeowners may make additions throughout the year and forget to update their insurance to cover their cost. Another important aspect to look at is flood insurance.
"Homeowner's insurance, your standard homeowner's insurance, covers most weather-related claims; the only big one it doesn't cover is flooding, and that's a separate policy," she said.
Flood insurance is handled by FIMA, or the Federal Insurance Mitigation Administration.
Something else people should consider is making a home inventory, which is important when filing claims and can help expedite the process.
Kevin Smith, a spokesperson for Allstate Insurance, suggested making a list and storing it online, or in another system such as Allstate's Digital Locker, which can be accessed through a mobile phone app or through the web. A third option is storing it on a flash drive you keep with you in the event of an emergency.
Smith said the most important thing to do is take pictures. Both Smith and Dundov said not having a home inventory list can making filing difficult when a room or home is destroyed.
"It does help your insurance adjuster when they come out to help them know what the room looked like beforehand," Dundov said.
Dealing with the immediate aftermath
After a disaster hits, Madden said your first line of response is going to be your neighbors.
"I can't emphasize this enough, especially in this day and age, most people don't know who their neighbors are," Madden said.
Next comes local emergency managers and responders, who will try to direct relief to the areas that are the most severely impacted. Phone lines may be down, or busy, leaving you with limited options for communication.
Afterwards, FEMA steps in.
"We come in to reinforce the initial first response. We can activate the search-and-rescue teams, we can then find out where unmet needs are and obviously bring those resources together," Madden said.
The Red Cross may also set up to help victims of the disaster, and provide things such as food, water and shelter.
Also, it's important to prevent injuries from disaster cleanup.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends protecting yourself from insects, staying out of standing water, staying away from uninspected buildings and leaving immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises coming from a structure.
The organization also said you should use machinery, such as generators, in well-ventilated areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also be aware of water in your surroundings and don't use electrical devices near it to prevent accidental electrical shock.
Finally, be aware of possible gas leaks and opt for using battery-powered lights instead of candles, which can be a fire hazard.
If you take steps now and plan ahead, it will make recovery easier later. But Madden warned that preserving human life is the No. 1 goal of any safety measure, not saving your home or belongings.
"One thing that we really kind of want to emphasize is property damage can be repaired, and individuals cannot," Madden said. "Always use common sense."
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
Thursday, April 24 2014 1:34 AM EDT2014-04-24 05:34:03 GMT
By JIM KUHNHENN Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - Aiming to streamline employment resources for people leaving the military, the government is creating an integrated website that can help job-seekersMore >>
Aiming to streamline employment resources for people leaving the military, the government is creating an integrated website that can help job-seekers create resumes, connect with employers and become part of a database of veterans and their spouses for companies to mine for skills and talents.More >>
Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:51 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:51:08 GMT
By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department is encouraging nonviolent federal inmates who have behaved in prison, have no significant criminal history and have already servedMore >>
The Justice Department is encouraging nonviolent federal inmates who have behaved in prison, have no significant criminal history and have already served more than 10 years behind bars to apply for clemency, officials announced Wednesday.More >>
Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:39 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:39:06 GMT
Spacewalking astronauts easily replaced a dead computer outside the International Space Station on Wednesday and got their orbiting home back up to full strength. The two Americans on board, Rick MastracchioMore >>
Spacewalking astronauts easily replaced a dead computer outside the International Space Station on Wednesday and got their orbiting home back up to full strength.More >>
Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:39:37 GMT
Electronic cigarettes continue to rise in popularity, but they could soon be federally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. As of now, "e-cigs" are not regulated, which means the packages doMore >>
Electronic cigarettes continue to rise in popularity, but they could soon be federally regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.More >>
Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:38:22 GMT
Friday and Saturday the story of Camelot will come alive at the Dumas Smith Auditorium on the campus of William Carey University. The production is being put on by the University's School of Music andMore >>
Friday and Saturday the story of Camelot will come alive at the Dumas Smith Auditorium on the campus of William Carey University. More >>
Thursday, September 12 2013 11:26 PM EDT2013-09-13 03:26:03 GMT
(RNN) - After a slow start, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is ramping up. Tropical depression 10, poised to become Ingrid if it develops into a full-fledged tropical storm, developed in the Gulf ofMore >>
After a slow start, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is ramping up.More >>
Tuesday, July 30 2013 2:25 PM EDT2013-07-30 18:25:47 GMT
The National Hurricane Center in Miami is tracking a tropical depression that has formed in the East Pacific. Forecasters say the system should strengthen to a Tropical Storm by early Thursday morning.More >>
The worst of what is now Tropical Depression Flossie has now passed through most of the state, bringing thunderstorms dangerously high surf but sparing most islands from serious storm related damage.
Friday, June 7 2013 5:09 AM EDT2013-06-07 09:09:19 GMT
The Grand Strand is under a Tropical Storm Warning as Andrea approaches from the southwest. More >>
The Grand Strand remains under a Tropical Storm Warning as Andrea moves northeastward along the eastern seaboard. With the 5 a.m. update, the National Hurricane Center said Andrea is about 50 miles southwest of Charleston.More >>
Thursday, June 6 2013 7:51 AM EDT2013-06-06 11:51:47 GMT
(RNN) – Less than a week into the official hurricane season, the first storm of the year has formed in the Gulf. Tropical Storm Andrea has sustained winds of 40 mph and is sitting 320 miles SSW of Apalachicola,More >>
Less than a week into the official hurricane season, the first storm of the year has formed in the Gulf.More >>
Monday, April 15 2013 9:06 PM EDT2013-04-16 01:06:27 GMT
A new audit released Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor says the state could be on the hook for hundreds of millions in disaster relief payback. The money was supposed to help property ownersMore >>
A new audit released Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor says the state could be on the hook for hundreds of millions in disaster relief payback. The money was supposed to help property owners recover from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.More >>
Monday, April 8 2013 7:09 PM EDT2013-04-08 23:09:50 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Hurricane Season officially starts June 1st, but emergency management and disaster relief organizations are already hard at work getting ready for the season, saying the riskMore >>
Hurricane Season officially starts June 1st, but emergency management and disaster relief organizations are already hard at work getting ready for the season, saying the risk of a big storm is always there.More >>
(RNN) - As Hurricane Sandy continues its roll towards the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, people in some of the nation's most populated cities have either evacuated hunkered down to ride out what has becomeMore >>
Sandy, no longer a hurricane, has made landfall along the southern coast of New Jersey. More >>
Sunday, October 28 2012 7:34 PM EDT2012-10-28 23:34:19 GMT
You may have the luxury of seeing a hurricane coming, but that doesn't mean you can wait until it arrives to prepare. Days before a hurricane arrives you should plan for the major weather event to keepMore >>
Days before a hurricane arrives you should plan for the major weather event to keep you and your family safe.More >>
Thursday, August 30 2012 1:35 AM EDT2012-08-30 05:35:36 GMT
(RNN) - After crashing into southern Louisiana Tuesday evening, Hurricane Isaac erratically continues its course across several southern states, bringing torrential rain and power outages to areas in its path. AlthoughMore >>
Hurricane Isaac continues to dump double-digits of rain over some parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. More >>
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