With Hurricane Sandy forecasted to possibly impact Harlem as early as this weekend, and especially since Harlem is in the middle of two rivers, here is important tips for consumer and business customers from the NYC.Gov to use before, during and after the storm.
If you live in a high-rise building, you need to be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor. High-rise buildings may space special risks during hurricanes, officials say.
No matter where you live, officials say everyone should assemble an emergency supply kit (including a gallon of drinking water per person per day, nonperishable foods, a can opener, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a battery-operation radio and extra batteries, a whistle, iodine tablets, personal hygiene items, a phone that does not rely on electricity, and child care supplies).
Here offers the following recommendations with consumer communication tips:
- Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain that all family members know who to contact if they become separated. Most important, practice your emergency plan in advance.
- Program all of your emergency contact numbers and e-mail addresses into your mobile phone. Numbers should include the police department, fire station and hospital, as well as your family members.
- Keep your wireless phone batteries charged at all times. Have an alternative plan to recharge your battery in case of a power outage, such as charging your wireless device by using your car charger or having extra mobile phone batteries or disposable mobile phone batteries on hand.
- Keep your wireless phone dry. The biggest threat to your device during a hurricane is water, so keep your equipment safe from the elements by storing it in a baggie or some other type of protective covering.
- Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. Because call forwarding is based out of the telephone central office, you will get incoming calls from your landline phone even if your local telephone service is disrupted at your home. In the unlikely event that the central office is not operational, services such as voicemail, call forwarding, remote access call forwarding and call forwarding busy line/don’t answer may be useful.
- Track the storm and access weather information on your wireless device. Many homes lose power during severe weather. If you have a wireless device that provides access to the Internet, you can watch weather reports through services like Live TV or keep updated with local radar and severe weather alerts, if you subscribe to those services.
- Camera phones provide assistance. If you have a camera phone, take, store and send photos — even video clips — of damaged property to your insurance company from your device.
- Take advantage of location-based mapping technology. The technology can help you seek evacuation routes or avoid traffic congestion from downed trees or power lines, as well as track a family member’s wireless device in case you get separated.
Also, here are recommendations for small business:
- Set up a call-forwarding service to a predetermined backup location. Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, employees’ families, customers and partners, as appropriate, to call so that all parties know about the business situation and emergency plan. For this to be most effective, maintain an updated contact list, including mobile and home phone numbers and e-mail addresses, for all employees.
- Protect hardware/software/data records/employee records, etc. Routinely back up these files to an off-site location. Use a generator for supplying backup power to vital computer hardware and other mission-critical equipment. Prearrange the replacement of damaged hardware with vendors to ensure quick business recovery.
- Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place plans. Practice these plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup location for your business and meeting place for all employees.
- Assemble a crisis-management team and coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Be aware that disasters affecting your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business essentials.
- Consider a back-up cellular network. Services that allows organizations to protect their critical communications by installing small cell sites at the businesses’ locations. If a disaster disables primary communications networks, the back-up cellular network can help keep your company connected.
Maximizing Service During and After a Hurricane:
· Try text messaging. During an emergency situation, text messages may go through more quickly than voice calls because they require fewer network resources.
- During an emergency, many people are trying to use their phones at the same time. The increased calling volume may create network congestion, leading to “fast busy” signals on your wireless phone or a slow dial tone on your landline phone. If this happens, hang up, wait several seconds and then try the call again. This allows your original call data to clear the network before you try again.
· Keep non-emergency calls to a minimum, and limit your calls to the most important ones. If there is severe weather, chances are many people will be attempting to place calls to loved ones, friends and business associates.
Those who live in an evacuation zone also need to:
- Prepare a disaster plan (determine how to locate and communicate with family members, and make sure the home is properly insured);
- Know where to go (finding friends or family to stay with outside the evacuation zone, or report to a hurricane shelter);
- Keep a small “go bag” ready (which should include copies of important documents in a waterproof container; extra sets of keys; copies of credit and up-to-date medication information and other essential personal items; first-aid kit; contact and meeting information for family members; child care supplies).
Homeowners should secure their properties. Storm shutters are the best type of protection, but if you don’t have those, board up windows with marine plywood. Additional clips or straps are recommended to secure roofs.
Bring in loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, garden tools and toys. Anchor objects that would be unsafe outside, such as gas grills or propane tanks. Close up and secure patio umbrellas, and secure retractable awnings.
Remove aerial antennas and satellite television dishes.
Trees and shrubs around your home should also be well-trimmed. Also remember to clear your gutters.
If you have tips we’ve missed in our comments section?
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