[Update: 1:20 p.m.] The Town of Brookline unveiled its online Hurricane Guide on the town website. The guide also includes a basic emergency kit, and recommends staying behind closed, locked and braced doors during the storm. Listen to the radio or TV for updates, and use the phone only for emergencies.
An important note the guide also makes:
Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be deceived if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
Hurricane Irene's rains start to hit the East Coast, and the National Weather Service has issued a "Hurricane Watch" for the Brookline area. The storm could cause heavy winds and rain, power outages, and possibly damage to trees and limbs.
Many resources, including Ready.gov and the Mass. Medical Reserve Corps recommend building a 72-hour Emergency kit, (see PDF) or "to-go bag" full of supplies for the worst-case scenario. Recommended items include a gallon of water per person, canned foods and granola bars, clean clothing, rope, duct tape, flashlights and radios, to name just a few.
The posted some preparation tips on their facebook page. Some of their tips require some manual labor:
- Trim back trees and shrubbery around your home. Remove diseased or damaged tree limbs that could be blown down, causing damage, during a storm.
- Clear clogged rain gutters. Hurricanes/tropical storms often bring torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
- Bring in outdoor items to bring inside such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings that can be broken or picked up by strong winds and used as a missile.
- Make sure storage sheds, children’s playhouses or other outbuildings are securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors.
- Elevate articles in your basement that could be damaged from even minor flooding.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) also suggests placing plywood boards over sliding doors and windows. They also note that taping up your windows does not protect them.
Simpler housekeeping tasks from the Police's Facebook Page include:
- Keep your vehicles fully fueled.
- Have a certain amount of cash available. If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.
- Make a record of your personal property. Keep an itemized list of your furniture, clothing and valuables to assist adjusters in case of a claim. Back it up with photographs or video.
- Protect your insurance policies and other important documents in a secure place like a safe deposit box or a watertight box. Many people back up important documents online.
- Learn where gas pilots and water mains are located and how to safely shut off all utilities.
- Lock doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and rain.
The National Hurricane Center also issued a plan for pet owners, which included tips such as taking a current photo of your pet for identification purposes, as well as their identification tags and a leash on hand. Sudbury Patch also spoke with the Buddy Dog Humane Society for more information, .
The twitter account posted "All of our branches are open until 5 today. Stock up on reading, listening and viewing material before we dance with Irene." While you're picking up your supplies, swing by a library branch and get some non-electric entertainment.
The City of Boston has also issued some of its own Hurricane tips.
Follow @PatchBrookline on Twitter, the Brookline Patch Facebook page, or keep an eye on the Patch homepage for updates throughout the weekend. Upload your photos and videos throughout the storm, and comment with your experiences.