Editorial: Get ready

Last week Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall in Louisiana, causing two deaths and dumping more than a foot of rain. It was the third named storm of the hurricane season. Still to come are Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney. Any one of them could make their way here.

While fall tends to be the season when the northeast is most likely to see hurricanes, they can come at any time. Irene hit us in August 2011. With the hurricane season comes the need for all of us to be prepared.

This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Center  is predicting the Atlantic region will see an above normal hurricane season with 11 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

Since the devastating outages of Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012, Eversource has worked assiduously to harden the power grid by conducting aerial surveys, replacing high-voltage poles, and trimming trees. Still, outages and damage can occur so the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection recommends you make a plan, put together an emergency kit, and stay informed.

A family emergency plan includes:

  • An out-of-town contact (it’s often easier to make long-distance calls than local ones during a storm).

  • Making sure everyone in the family can call or text one another.

  • Using the “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) designation on cell phone contacts for easy look-up by emergency personnel.

When making an emergency kit, try to think about what you would need most if you had no power and/or if you were unable to leave your home for a few days. At minimum, emergency kits should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days;

  • A three-day supply of non-perishable food;

  • A manual can opener for food;

  • Flashlight and extra batteries;

  • First aid kit;

  • Moist towelettes or hand sanitizer for personal sanitation;

  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities;

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both;

  • Local maps;

  • Cell phone with charger;

  • Necessary medications and medical equipment with backup power source if needed;

  • Don’t forget the pets. Be sure to have enough food and water, a leash and collar with ID tags; make plans with neighbors and friends to pet-sit if necessary.

Sign up for statewide emergency alerts at ct.gov/ctalert and for local ones at wiltonct.gov (sign up for Code Red) and at WiltonBulletin.com (sign up for Breaking News). Visit ct.gov/hurricane or ready.gov for more.