GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Safety should be the first priority during a disaster. Don’t wait until an emergency to make plans.
From having a plan to checking your surroundings, there are many easy ways to prepare. Here are some examples that may help you be prepared and safe.
- Remove objects that obstruct or block doors, hallways or exits to avoid falls.
- Plan what to do in case of an evacuation; practice the evacuation routes and know your closest shelters.
- Have a family emergency kit with essential supplies, such as water and food for at least 10 days for each member of the family; make sure it’s easy to find.
- Have a first aid kit with bandages, sterile gauze, thermometer, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
- Understand options to purify drinking water. For more information go online to www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/pdf/make-water-safe-sp.pdf for Spanish or www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/pdf/make-water-safe-H.pdf for English. Print the instructions in case communications fail.
- For the elderly or individuals with disabilities, remember to wear a medical alert tag or bracelet and pack healthcare information and medical devices.
- If needed, register at the Functional Access Registry to get help in case of emergency. Your information will be shared with FEMA and Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau. Register at: registros.salud.gov.pr/RegistrosPublicos/PoblacionesEspeciales/FunctionalAccessRegistry
- Don’t forget to have important items for infants and children.
Know how to shut off utilities.
Know whether your property is flood-prone.
Identify levees and dams near the area and determine if they are a hazard.
Prepare a safe room, such as an interior bedroom or bathroom, and put an emergency kit there.
Buy permanent shutters or plywood panels to protect windows and sliding doors.
If your house is made of wood, check its structural connections. The roof, walls, floor and foundations must be joined by metal anchors. If you can’t use anchors, then install straps, tensioning cables or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame.
If you have to evacuate, lock all doors and windows and don’t leave house keys in obvious places such as the mailbox.
- Trim the trees and shrubs around your house.
- Remember to bring all outdoor furniture inside.
- Park your vehicle in a safe area and, if necessary, take it to another location away from possible flooding and falling debris.
- Secure all solar panels, satellite dishes, antennas and water systems with appropriate anchors.
Equipment and Portable Generators
- Install surge protectors to avoid overloading electronic equipment and protect it from power fluctuations.
- When using portable generators, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Consider where to store a portable generator outdoors. Keep it as far away as possible from gathering spaces, work areas, windows, doors or open vents.
- Use a heavy-duty extension cord and ensure the cord’s wattage rating exceeds the total wattage of all appliances connected to it. Inspect the cord to make sure it’s not damaged.
- Install battery-powered carbon-monoxide detectors inside your home.
- Don’t store fuel inside your home. When refueling, consider using high-quality, small gas cans to avoid spillage and overfilling.
- If you use medical equipment that requires electricity, plan to have a backup system. You can also contact your medical provider and ask if they have an alternative or emergency plan.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4339/hurricane-preparedness.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.
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