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Curcio Law’s Declassified Hurricane Survival Guide

Four years ago Irene snuck up on the East Coast, catching us unawares. Colleges were evacuated, schools canceled, and those of us in Northern Virginia found ourselves swimming to work- if we could even get out of our homes! Luckily Irene’s younger brother Joaquin has come with more warning and has given us some time to prepare.

Curcio Law’s Steps to Surviving Joaquin

1. Secure your property. This may mean buying sandbags, securing shutters, elevating any valuables from ground floors or basements up to higher floors, bag important documents, etc. Unplug any electronics to protect yourself from the possibility of electrocution. Make sure to tape X’s across your windows (alligator tape is your best option, do not use duct tape) to further reinforce them. The tape will not hold against all winds so consider buying some plywood to install over the windows. Clean gutters and drains, double-check your roof and trim any trees near your property. Any pots or décor that you leave outside should be brought inside and kept in a garage or storage unit until after the storm.

2. Stock up on supplies. Yes, there will be a mad dash to the grocery store, however, stay away from anything perishable. Do not buy milk, eggs, cheese, etc. Buy bread, tortillas, cereal, canned goods, and preserves; anything that can withstand a power outage. Protein such as beef jerky, beans, and peanut butter are good to keep as they do not need to be refrigerated or cooked. Stock up on any pet food. Fill any extra bottles with water, or stock up on water.

3. Be prepared to evacuate. Have a route planned out. Make sure your car has a full tank of gas. Fill your car with nonperishable food, blankets, if you have children a few small toys for amusement, paper maps, and flashlights. Do NOT leave any pets behind. Coordinate with any neighbors to see if you can carpool. Fewer cars mean less congestion which means a quicker evacuation. Make sure you have cash on hand if the power goes out credit cards cannot be run.

4. Have a safe room. This could be your living room or a bedroom. Keep a crank radio or battery run radio in this room and keep up with the latest news on the hurricane. Know the difference between a “Watch” and a “Warning” (explained below). Make sure to stock up on batteries, and keep as many flashlights as you can find with you. Bring a lighter and a few candles just in case. Put all of your food and water in this room, and make sure every window and door is completely secured. Grab some books, some board games, paper and pencils, anything that is amusing and doesn’t use electricity and stick it out. Make sure there are lots of pillows and blankets, extra clothes, and toiletries. Keep your pet food in this room as well and bring any dog beds or litter boxes in with you.

5. Don’t panic. No matter what course of action you take, whether it be hunkering down or evacuating, panicking and getting worked up will not help you. Charge up your cellphone beforehand and save any emergency numbers into it (a few are at the bottom of this article). Put your phone into battery save mode, and seldom use it. If anything happens, call for help.

Joaquin is gunning for us, but luckily we are all prepared. Use this weekend as a family bonding experience and school your children in Monopoly and Risk. Wherever Joaquin ends up we at Curcio Law hope everyone stays safe.

Emergency Jargon: “Watch” and “Warning”

Here is the difference between a “Watch” and a “Warning”.

Watch: Conditions are possible within the next 36 hours. Keep a WATCH out for the storm.

Warning: Conditions are expected within the next 24 hours.

What to keep in your Emergency Kit:

  • Non-perishable food and water (for at least 3 days, ration a gallon of water a day per person)
  • Radio
  • Batteries
  • Emergency Plan
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Spare glasses/contact lenses
  • List of prescriptions, allergies, and prescribing doctors and at least one week’s supply of medicines.
  • Toiletries: soap, toilet paper, garbage bags.
  • Change of clothing, blankets, and pillows.
  • Copies of important documents: insurance policies, bank account records, IDs, etc. all in a waterproof bag.
  • Necessary items for infants, elderly or disabled family members, or pets.

List of Emergency Numbers:

Emergency Services: 911
FEMA: 1-888-638-6620

VDOT: 511 (they also have an app you can download)

VDEM (VA Department of Emergency Management): 1-866-782-3470

American Red Cross: 1-800-733-2767

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