The Urban Clinic is praying for the safety of the Eastern United States as Hurricane Irene hits the coast this weekend. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the effects of the hurricane hitting urban areas such as Manhattan, we encourage everyone to follow evacuation instructions and to avoid low lying coastal areas in addition to high rise apartment buildings above the 10th floor. The weather has inspired us to summarize these emergency tips for future storms in urban areas, in which the main concern would be the length of power outages. If time and store supplies permit, stock up on these essentials.
Water supplies in stores will run low fairly quickly so get your hands on as much as possible. Experts say to have at least enough for 1 gallon daily per person for 3-7 days. If and when grocery store supplies run out, the next best best is Gatorade, which should be reserved for if supplies run low, as the electrolytes will help combat dehydration. Create an emergency reserve of water by filling a large soup pot, or even the bathtub, as water reservoirs may become contaminated with sediment and storm run off. That said, take showers while you still can! Keep a bucket of water near the toilet for flushing purposes.
Non-perishable foods such as canned soups, crackers, tortilla chips and salsa, nuts, dried fruit, vegetables (less perishable), and a non-electric can opener. Eat the most perishable items first. Don’t underestimate how quickly your food supply can run out, especially if you stock up ahead of time and crack into the supply early. If time permits, make some healthy cookies instead of grabbing store-bought junk. While the power is still on, try these nutritious recipes that are packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants: Urban Clinic Chicken Soup, Mexican Bean Salad, Turkey Chili.
Communication can be maintained if cell phone and laptop batteries are preserved, these can double as flashlights too. Download Skype if you don’t already have it, and use that to make calls in case of emergency. Keep batteries fully charged in anticipation of lost power, and if the power does go out, limit use of all communication devices to preserve battery life. A VOIP modem for your residential land line may be more resilient during a power outage, but only if the modem does not require an electrical plug in. Back up your computer while you are waiting for the power to go out, it may prevent data loss resulting from water or other physical damage if a window blows out.
Flashlights and batteries will run out of stores immediately. For future storms, try to source a crank flashlight, as they don’t require batteries. Candles and matches will be easier to come by as people become frantic and supplies run out.
First Aid including bandaids, gauze, hydrogen peroxide, paper towels, and toilet paper (broken windows are our main concern).
Keep a “Go Bag” containing keys, cash, identification, passports, medications, and any other essential items.
Clear patios and rooftop terraces plants and furniture. Bring them inside to minimize debris from crashing into the windows or into the street.
Map out evacuation routes, higher ground, and the nearest shelters here. Most importantly, be sure to gather with loved ones in a safe place outside of the evacuation zone. Mayor Bloomberg states that once the hurricane hits, the most important thing you can do is stay inside.