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How to Prepare Before, During, and After Tropical Storm Henri in Connecticut

Tropical Weather Atlantic
Stew Milne
James Masog, center, and Gary Tavares, right, move particle board into place to board up the sliding glass doors of a clients house in Charlestown, R.I., ahead of Hurricane Henri Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. New Englanders, bracing for their first direct hit by a hurricane in 30 years, are taking precautions as Tropical Storm Henri barrels toward the southern New England coast. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

With Tropical Storm Henri hitting Connecticut Sunday, residents should take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their families safe.

Here are steps families can take before, after, and during the storm to protect themselves, provided by the National Weather Service, Ready.gov, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before the storm

  • Make a plan and go over it with other members of the household. Write it down, if it helps.
    • In case of evacuation, locate the nearest shelter and different routes to get there.
    • If you don’t own a car, consider making plans with family, friends, or neighbors, or call authorities to get a ride if you need to evacuate.
    • Designate a home shelter area if you can’t evacuate. Rooms without windows are best.
    • Write down emergency phone numbers near your phone or save them to your cell phone.
  • Gather an emergency supply kit with the following items:
    • Emergency food and water supply
    • First aid and other medical supplies
    • Emergency power sources such as flashlights and extra batteries
    • A small, battery-operated radio to listen for updates
    • Important documents, such as medical information, wills, passports, and personal identification
    • Other safety and personal items
  • Prepare your home.
    • Cover windows with storm shutters or plywood. This will protect you from any broken glass.
    • Know how to turn off your gas, electricity, and water in case you need to evacuate.
    • Secure outdoor items. Move them to a garage or shed, if possible.
    • Clear your yard. Make sure there's nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and building material inside or under shelter.
    • Fill clean water containers with drinking water, in case water supply is lost during the storm.
    • Fill up sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.
  • Prepare your car.
    • Fill your car’s gas tank.
    • Move your car into the garage or under cover.
    • Prepare an emergency kit for your car with the following items:
      • Jumper cables
      • Flares or reflective triangle
      • Ice scraper
      • Car cell phone charger
      • Blanket
      • Map
      • Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction)
    • For more car tips, visit ready.gov/car.

During the storm

  • Keep updated with local news, as things may change rapidly.
  • Keep your emergency supply kit in a place you can easily access.
  • Stay inside. Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over.
  • Stay away from windows to prevent getting hurt by pieces of broken glass or flying debris during a storm. Stay in a safe room with no windows or inside a closet.
  • Never use a wet electrical device.
  • If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles.
  • If you have to use candles, keep them away from anything that can catch fire. Always stay near lit candles.
  • Be ready to evacuate, if needed. If emergency authorities order you to leave or if your home is damaged, seek safety in a nearby shelter or a neighbor's house.

After the storm

  • Avoid flooded areas, whether on foot or in your car.
    • Never drive through floodwater. Cars or other vehicles can be swept away or stall in moving water.
    • If you have to be in or near floodwater, wear a life jacket – especially if the water is rising. Also wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water if you have been in floodwater. If you don’t have soap or water, use alcohol-based wipes or sanitizer. Floodwater can contain many things that may harm health, including germs, dangerous chemicals, human and livestock waste, wild or stray animals, downed power lines, and other contaminants that can make you sick.
    • Floodwater may contain sharp objects, such as glass or metal fragments, that can cause injury and lead to infection. Prompt first aid can help heal small wounds and prevent infection.
    • Avoid exposure to floodwater if you have an open wound.
    • For more info on flood hazards, visit this 'Turn Around Don't Drown' resource from the National Weather Service or this flood safety page from the CDC.
  • Check your home.
    • If your home has any damage, do not reenter until it has been examined by a building inspector for safety.
    • Prevent mold growth by airing out rooms and disinfecting them.
    • Make sure tap water is safe to drink. Check local news warnings.
    • Throw away food that may be unsafe.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
    • Ensure your CO2 detector has working batteries.
    • Use generators, stoves, and grills outside and away from windows, doors, and vents by at least 20 feet.
    • Never use a wet electrical device.
    • For more tips on cleaning up after a severe weather event, visit cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.html.
  • Stay away from powerlines.
  • Take care of your emotional health.
    • Dealing with disasters can cause stress and strong emotions, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry.
    • Check in with your household.
    • Acknowledge these feelings, talk through them with people you trust, and seek help if you need it.
Sabrina Herrera joined Connecticut Public as social media editor in 2021. Previously, she grew the Hartford Courant's Instagram presence, creating both the strategy and social graphics, and managed their staff photographers. She also worked as a video editor at NBC Connecticut.

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