New Jersey’s geography is diverse and vibrant.
From the shore to the mountains, farmlands to marshlands, New Jersey has it all. However, with these beautiful landscapes come some inherent hazards; navigating the weather is just a part of being a New Jersey resident.
Brush up on your hurricane and flooding knowledge below, and learn how to prepare for and stay safe during these hazards before they come knocking at your door.
Did You Know…
Never drive through flood waters. Six inches of moving water can make a person fall. 12″ of water can carry off a small car, and 18″ – 24” can sweep away larger vehicles.
Prepare NOW –
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Many NJ communities also use Nixle and Swift911 to send localized emergency alerts.
- Learn and practice evacuation routes, going to a safe shelter for high winds, and flash flood response.
- Gather supplies – such as chargers, medications, food and water – for at least three days in case you have to leave immediately. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including pets. Learn more about making a kit HERE.
- Know your area’s flood risk by visiting FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.
- Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. Remember, homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding, and it typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect.
- Monitor potential signs of flash flooding in your area, such as heavy rain.
- Protect your property — move valuables to higher levels; declutter drains and gutters; install check valves; consider installing a sump pump with a battery.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container, and create password-protected digital copies.
As a hurricane approaches, keep up-to-date on its status and prepare accordingly.
- 36 hours out – Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. Sending text messages is usually more reliable and faster than making phone calls during disasters. Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full. Stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
- 18-36 hours out – Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds. Cover all of your home’s windows.
- 6 hours out – Charge your cell phone so you will have a full battery in case you lose power. Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary so that food will last longer if you lose power.
Survive DURING –
- Listen to alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of the event, go to your previously identified safe location.
- If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room; ICC 500 storm shelter; or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding.
- If trapped in a building during flooding, go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic; you may become trapped by rising floodwater. Go on the roof only if necessary; once there, signal for help.
- If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades; local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.
Be Safe AFTER –
- Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Avoid driving and save phone calls for emergencies only.
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
- Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
- Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can electrically charge the water.
- Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
- Learn more about responding to and recovering from disasters HERE.
Information taken from Ready.gov.