Safety officials have long warned that if you are caught in a hurricane like Sandy, you cannot count on immediate help. You need three days' worth of food and water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio and a supply of your medications.
Here are three things you may not have thought of that you can do right now, if you're in a place where the hurricane has not yet hit -- plus an important reminder for when the power goes out.
1. Fill your bathtub with water, unless you have little children. This water can be used for drinking, washing, and flushing the toilet. Water supplies are often compromised by hurricanes and either become undrinkable or stop flowing.
2. Turn your refrigerator and freezer temperatures down to their coldest settings. This will give your food a bit more of a chance of surviving if the power goes out.
3. Look to see how to turn off your water and gas. If there is damage to your utilities, you may be instructed to turn them off. Better to figure out how to do this now.
4. Make sure to have a first aid kit in your home filled with an assortment of band aids, gauze, tape, gloves and other medical supplies, as well as a manual.
5. The CDC also recommends having personal hygiene supplies on hand like soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc. You should also have disposable cleansing wipes, such as "baby wipes," for the whole family to use in case bathing facilities are unavailable.
When the storm knocks out power to your house:
Be careful how you use your gasoline-powered generator. An improperly ventilated generator will cause carbon monoxide to seep back into your house. This can be deadly. Following every hurricane, people are hospitalized and die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Never run a generator inside a basement, garage or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Many people buy generators right before the storm and don't know how to properly operate them.
Make sure to only use your generator for the necessities. Overloading your generator could damage appliances or cause a fire. The total wattage you're using should be less than the output rating of the generator.
Always use fresh gasoline when refueling your generator. Also, the National Safety Council recommends allowing the unit to cool for at least two minutes before refueling. Gasoline is highly flammable and can be a fire hazard when in contact with a hot generator.