How Should You Prepare for an Emergency?

By Erin Delmore

“The three key points are to be informed, build your kit and make your plan,” said Diane Concannon, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, New Jersey Region.

As Tropical Storm Hermine races up the East Coast, New Jerseyans are preparing for the impact and emergency response groups are getting the word out about preparedness.

“Where would you go? Do you have pets? Is there a place that you could go, to a friend or family member that’s further inland that may not be affected as much by the storm? So, what are your plans? And how is the whole family going to stay in touch? How will everyone know that everyone else is OK?” Concannon asked.

NOAA says this year’s Atlantic hurricane season could be the most active since 2012, when Superstorm Sandy struck. All five of the most intense hurricanes in recent U.S. history have made landfall between the end of August and early September.

“We’re looking at flooding, storm surge, winds, things of that nature, a lot of what you would experience from a nor’easter. So obviously you want to secure loose items in your yard, you want to, you know, bring your cars to higher ground if you’re in an area susceptible to flooding,” said Laura Connolly, operations analyst, New Jersey State PoliceOffice of Emergency Management.

Whether it’s a storm or any other disaster, you’ll need an emergency kit — including a flashlight, batteries, blankets, power cords and chargers, food, water and a first aid kit. A recent survey by AAA found only one in five New Jerseyans has supplies and a plan.

“You want to think about what you’re going to put in your go-bag. So that could be your important paperwork, driver’s license, identification. You might want to think about loading some of those documents, copies of them, on a flash drive, just in case,” Concannon said. “Taking a change of clothing. Think about medications. Have a seven-day supply. Have extra cash on hand if we do lose power and we lose our ATM machines. Have that car full, the gas tank full, of gas. It’s not going to hurt you at this point, and it’ll help you be prepared and take that stress away of trying to do that when the storm, if the storm does affect our area.”

AAA says keep bottled water, blankets, jumper cables, a cell phone charger and some kind of reflector or flare in your car. And the group warns, don’t drive through flooded roadways. Around half of all licensed New Jerseyans have done it.

“People underestimate the power of moving water and even water, it could be six inches off the ground, if it’s moving, it could knock an adult down, and a foot and a half could take your car. People panic, they don’t know what to do and so it’s definitely better to avoid driving through those running waters,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson Sue Madden.

With a slew of residents hitting the road this holiday weekend, AAA says the time to prep is now.