Preparing for a Storm

Sheriff Toulon urges Suffolk County residents to prepare for stormy weather all year round, but particularly in the days prior to a hurricane or tropical storm.  Families and individuals should take the following measures:

Deputy Sheriffs Responding to Fire Island during Hurricane Sandy

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Have a supply of important medications; don't wait for the last minute to fill prescriptions.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected if a storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
  • Make plans to secure your property by covering your home's windows.  Storm shutters are ideal, but strong plywood cut and taped to fit your windows, is also recommeded to prevent breakage. 
  • Trim trees and shrubs.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Anchor down barbeques that use gas or propane.  Do not bring them indoors.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install a generator for emergencies.

 FEMA recommends the following to ensure the safety of your home and family.  For more information, visit www.ready.gov.

Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies:

  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
  • Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

Hurricane Preparedness button.

Food Safety:

To ensure that your food supply is safe in the event that there are power outages, keep in mind the following:

Keep ready-to-eat foods on hand that do not require cooking or cooling.

If the Power Goes Out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • Refrigerators should be kept at 40° F or below for proper food storage.

Once the Power is Restored:

  • Check the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer.
  • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40° F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40° F for two hours or more.

Using Dry Ice:

  • Under normal circumstances you should not keep dry ice in your freezer. If your freezer is functioning properly it will cause the unit to become too cold and your freezer may shut off. However, if you lose power for an extended period of time, dry ice is the best ways to keep things cold.
  • Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days.
  • If you use dry ice to keep your food cold, make sure it does not come in direct contact with the food.
  • Use care when handling dry ice, wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.

A basic emergency supply kit should include the following recommended items:

  • Water; one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food; at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger