NORWALK, Conn. - As Hurricane Irene sweeps up the East Coast and prepares for a landfall in Connecticut, Mayor Richard Moccia said the city is preparing. State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) is urging shoreline residents to prepare for the storm by following advice from federal and state emergency experts.
"The hurricane looks like it will hit at high tide, which coupled with a predicted 7 to 10 inches of rain and the typical storm surge could have a devastating effect on shoreline properties," Duff said in a release. "While the storm track could change, it's best to prepare for the worst and minimize damage to life and property."
Moccia has announced activation of an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response. The city's disaster reserve volunteers and the American Red Cross will assist in evacuation and operate a shelter at Brien McMahon High School in the event evacuations are ordered this weekend.
The city will use the Code Red notification system to update residents if evacuations are needed and the shelter is opened.
Duff said the first effects from Irene are expected to begin Saturday afternoon with light rain, which is expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene Sunday night just before midnight. Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state Sunday afternoon, and hurricane force winds are expected by Sunday evening.
Moccia's release advises that residents are an essential part of the community response as well, by being prepared in advance of this storm and for all emergencies. Families should discuss their disaster plan and make sure contact information is updated and should check and update their disaster supply kits in advance of the storm, including having flashlights, batteries, battery-operated radios and other supplies.
As recommended with any storm, residents should fill automobile gas tanks and make sure cell phones are fully charged in case of power outages.
Duff culled a variety of hurricane preparedness safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to come up with this list:
To prepare for a hurricane:
SECURE YOURSELF IN YOUR HOME
? Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows, another option is to board up windows with 5/8" marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
? Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
? Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
? Determine how and where to secure your boat if you have one.
? Turn off propane tanks.
? Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
? Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
? Remember your pets! They should be kept indoors, with a collar and identification and ample food and water.
? Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
? Close all interior doorssecure and brace external doors.
? Keep curtains and blinds closed.
? Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
? If necessary, take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level, or lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
IF YOU HAVE TO EVACUATE YOUR PROPERTY
? When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media.
? In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls, also are used.
? Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions. Some portable radios also run by a hand-powered crank.
? Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves.
? Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a real risk of flooding
? Close and lock doors and windows.
? Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap.
? Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages.
? Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay
? Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather, and be alert for washed-out roads and bridges.
? Do not drive into flooded areas.
? Avoid downed power lines
A FAMILY EMERGENCY KIT SHOULD CONTAIN
? At least one gallon of water per person for 3 to 7 days
? Food to last 3 to 7 days, including non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices; foods for infants or the elderly; a non-electric can opener; cooking tools and fuel; and paper plates and plastic utensils
? Blankets, pillows, etc.
? Seasonal clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes
? First aid kit, including medicines and prescription drugs
? Toiletries and hygiene items
? Flashlight with batteries
? Battery-operated radio and a NOAA weather radio
? Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
? Cash (with some small bills) and credit cards, since banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
? Toys, Books and Games
? Important documents in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag, including insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
? Tool set to keep with you during the storm
? Fully fueled vehicles
Residents are advised to monitor the storm tracking and timing forecast via local media outlets.
Residents should visit Ready.gov for information and resources in multiple languages and formats to help them plan for this storm.
How are you preparing for Hurricane Irene?
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