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Preparing for Hurricanes...and Zombies

CDC grabs attention with tongue-in-cheek blog post

Hurricane season gets here on June 1st and lasts through early fall. Think Northern Virginia doesn't need to worry? Hurricane Isabel proved to be the costliest disaster at nearly $2 billion, that ever hit the state. Thirty-six people died (10 directly, 26 indirectly) and it left 1.8 million without power. Some 10,000 sandbags were distributed in Alexandria.

Hurricane Isabel caused $18 million in damage to Fairfax County and $2 million in damage in Alexandria. Fairfax County will be online Tuesday answering your hurricane preparation questions: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/askfairfax/

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its predictions last Thursday for this season, and the conditions expected this year have historically produced some active Atlantic hurricane seasons, the government agency said.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting:

  • 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:

  • 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:

  • 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)

Names for this season's hurricanes are: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, Whitney

For a list of hurricanes that were so bad, their names will never be used again, click here.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a recent effort to get the word out, posted a blog about preparing for disasters, such as hurricanes....but did you hear they're also warning about zombies?

A blog posting last week on its site gave some tongue-in-cheek advice about preparing for a zombie invasion, with this headline: "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." It was just a joke, designed to get people's attention to prepare for a real disaster, especially now that hurricane season has arrived.

Here's some of the CDC's advice for preparing for emergencies--whether it's zombies or a hurricane:

So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored). Below are a few items you should include in your kit, for a full list visit the CDC Emergency page.

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
  • Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
  • Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
  • Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
  • Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
  • Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
  • First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)

Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency.

Family members meeting by their mailbox. You should pick two meeting places, one close to your home and one farther away.

  • Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information.
  • Pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case zombies invade your home…or your town evacuates because of a hurricane. Pick one place right outside your home for sudden emergencies and one place outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home right away.
  • Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team. Also identify an out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are ok.
  • Plan your evacuation route. When zombies are hungry they won’t stop until they get food (i.e., brains), which means you need to get out of town fast! Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time so that the flesh eaters don’t have a chance! This is also helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.
  • How did Hurricane Isabel affect you and your family? Tell us in the Comments box following this story.

    Sande Snead May 24, 2011 at 01:50 PM
    Did you know that you can buy emergency preparedness items in Virginia tax free from May 25-31? All retailers participate, according to State law. Water, batteries, cell phone batteries, generators and more are among the items you can get without paying taxes. Go to readyvirginia.gov for details.

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