The North Smithfield Emergency Management Agency reminds residents that hurricane season began on Tuesday, June 1, and now is the time to check to see that you are prepared.
“Being able to cope with these violent storms can make a difference between life and death,” noted the agency.
NSEMA notes that even though hurricane season is now under way, it is not too late to set aside supplies you would need during a hurricane emergency. Being prepared can make a significant difference in your ability to cope with these violent storms.
Each person has special needs, such as medicines and prescription glasses, but a general list of what to have on hand includes a supply of non-perishable foods, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, battery operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
AHurricane Watch means a hurricane has become a threat to coastal areas. When a hurricane watch is issued, everyone in the area covered by the watch should listen for further advisories and be prepared to act promptly if a hurricane warning is issued.
A Hurricane Warning indicates that hurricane winds of 74 miles per hours or higher, or a combination of dangerously high water and very rough seas, are expected in a specific coastal area within 24 hours. Precautionary actions should begin immediately.
North Smithfield residents who have internet access can log onto the town website for Emergency Management at www.nsema.org and get up to the minute situation reports as part of a new Emergency Information Network.
If a hurricane threatens and before local alarms are sounded, residents are advised to listen to local radio and television stations such as WOON, WNRI or Cox Cable channel 17 for the latest Weather Service Advisories, as well as special instructions issued by Emergency Management authorities.
Hurricanes can cause power or water supply failures. NSEMA recommends checking battery powered equipment such as flashlights and radios now, noting that a battery radio could be the only source of information in a hurricane emergency. Residents should also store a supply of drinking water in a clean bathtub, jugs and cooking utensils because the town’s water supply could be contaminated by the storm or not be able to supply water if the system water pumps do not have power to run them. Those with private wells will also have water supplies cut off if they have an electric powered well pump.
Fill your car’s fuel tank to be prepared in case evacuation should occur. There is also a possibility that service stations may be inoperable after a storm if power is cut off.
Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters or tape. Danger to small windows is mainly from wind driven debris. Larger windows may be broken by wind pressure. Although tape may not prevent flying debris from breaking windows, it will prevent flying glass from causing injury to persons in the home or outside.
Secure outdoor objects that might be blown around. .Garbage cans, garden tools, toys, signs, porch furniture and a number of other harmless items become weapons of destruction in hurricane winds. Boats should also be moored securely or moved to a designated area before the storm arrives.
Residents living near small streams or rivers should keep on guard for flash floods caused by high rainfall caused by the storm.
If local authorities or Emergency Management officials advise evacuation of your area, do so immediately. Keep your car radio on to listen to further instructions, such as the location of North Smithfield’s Emergency Shelters.
As you monitor Weather Service Advisories be alert for tornado watches or warnings. North Smithfield has already experienced a tornado in recent history and NSEMA notes that no area is exempt from this severe wind storm. Tornadoes are often caused by hurricanes. Should your area receive a tornado warning , seek inside shelter immediately , preferably below ground level.
Once the hurricane has reached your area, remain indoors. Blowing debris can injury you or kill. Travel is extremely dangerous. Be especially wary of the “eye” of the hurricane. If the storm center passes overhead, there will be a lull in the wind blowing lasting for a few minutes to half an hour or more. At the either side of the “eye” winds will increase rapidly to hurricane force and will come from the opposite direction..
If the hurricane forces you into public shelter stay there until the storm passes.
Keep tuned to your local radio or television station for advice and instructions from local government about emergency medical, food, housing and other forms of assistance.
Do not drive unless you must. Debris filled streets are dangerous and roads should be left clear for emergency vehicles. In addition your presence in the disaster areas might interfere with essential rescue and recovery work. Along the coast, soil may be washed from beneath the pavement, which could collapse under the weight of a car.
Avoid loose or dangling wires and report them immediately to your local power company, your local police or fire department. If you have a citizens band radio you can contact REACT on CB channel (9) to report any storm related problems you may encounter on the road or highway. Report any broken sewer or water mains to the water department. Be particularly careful to prevent fires as lowered water pressure may take away necessary water pressure from mains for fire fighting.
Be careful of water which may have become contaminated. If the power has been off, check refrigerated food for spoilage. A freezer should keep food in satisfactory condition up to 36 hours, provided it is kept closed. Wrapping the freezer in blankets will help insulate the cold.
NSEMA advises that you discuss this information with your children and explain your family’s plans and preparations while also sharing your ideas with friends, neighbors and relatives. Additional information on hurricane preparedness is available at the public safety center or from your local Emergency Management Officials.
In North Smithfield you can call the NSEMA office at (401) 767-2206 for info or help during or after the storm.