Hurricane Preparedness

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How can family members stay in touch during an evacuation?

• The American Red Cross recommends that families designate an individual outside the potentially affected area to serve as a family point of contact.
• This person should have all family emergency phone numbers and contacts at all times.
• If family members are evacuated, the Red Cross recommends that they stay in contact with the designated individual. Perhaps set up a specific time to try and reach that contact.
• If contact is lost with an immediate family member in an affected area who may have been evacuated, the family should contact its local American Red Cross chapter and request the chapter begin a disaster welfare inquiry.

Plan ahead for possible evacuation

Here are some tips to help you prepare for hurricane season:

--Decide now where you'll go if you're in an evacuation zone.

--Make plans for family members with special needs. The elderly may need help in the event of a hurricane. Keep extra medication on hand. Contact your doctor or hospital for help with those on electrical life-support.

--Keep some emergency cash handy. If there's a hurricane, ATMs may not work or could run out of cash.

--Buy supplies now. Keep a two-week supply of non-perishable foods and bottled water for each member of your family. Don't forget baby food and pet food.

--Have disaster supplies on hand: flashlight and extra batteries, a portable battery-operated radio and batteries, a first-aid kit, a nonelectric can opener, medications, and sturdy shoes.

--Store your important documents, like birth certificates and insurance papers, in a water-tight container that you can carry with you if you need to evacuate.

--Document your valuables. Videotape or take pictures of your belongings. If you don't have a camera, borrow a friend's. Mail the tape or pictures to a family member who lives out of town.

--Involve your children in your preparations. Help them put together their own hurricane preparation kit with toys, games and a pillow and blanket.

--Make arrangements for your pets. Most shelters and many hotels don't accept pets. You may need to find a kennel or out-of-town family member to care for them. Don't forget to have an identification tag with your name, phone and address, in case your pet gets lost. You'll also want to keep a record of their shots and vaccinations.

Don't forget your pets in case of evacuation

Georgia Department of Agriculture has compiled a list of tips and emergency care items to keep companion animals safe and healthy during disasters.

* Pack a pet emergency kit with the following items: current identification and vaccination records; animal carrier; leashes and harnesses; manual can opener; litter box and litter; blanket or towel; three-day supply of food, water and medication; first aid kit containing antiseptic wipes, bandages, gauze/tape and antibiotic lotion. Place the above items in a waterproof container and store in a safe place.

* Be sure to designate a "safe place" in the home, preferably a window-less room. Make sure that everyone knows that the kits and supplies are in this room.

* Keep plenty of cleaning supplies in "safe rooms" alongside emergency pet kits. These supplies should include plastic bags, household bleach, all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant and air-tight containers to deal with pet waste.

* If evacuating your home, take your pet with you, or place your pet in a kennel or veterinarian's office safe from a storm surge. During a declared disaster by the Governor of Georgia, several animal-friendly shelters will be opened in the state. Contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture ( or the Humane Association of Georgia ( for locations.

* Maintain current photos of pets to help identify them if they become lost or separated.