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Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 6: Securing Valuables and Your Home

Both your valuables and your home deserve serious attention to detail when preparing for a major hurricane, or any other natural disaster.

These things are about your personal life – not your workplace. Not your paintshop at work.

This is the time to rev up – at home.

IMPORTANT PAPERWORK, COMPUTERS, PERIPHERALS, ETC.

1. Remove all valuables, important records and papers, logs, journals, etc. from your home, and vehicle (s), even those garaged. TIP: Remove all valuable papers from every file drawer, cabinet.
2. Secure documents in fireproof, waterproof and mold/mildew proof containers such as portable safes, strong boxes, and/ or file cabinets.
3. If possible, place container(s) in a safe, retrievable place off the property – out of reach of the pending disaster. Also out of reach of possible looters.
4. Be sure to place all financial account supplies in the same container(s) – eg. blank checks, credit union vouchers, trust forms, etc.
5. Carefully wrap and secure all flash drives, software packages, etc. in a similar manner.
6. Carefully place all computers, cords, hard drives, and other peripherals into their original boxes if you have them, or equally secure storage containers. Move them into a secure and accessible place on the property. Or move them to a more “hurricane proof” location off your property.

PERSONAL PROPERTY YOU WANT TO PRESERVE

1. Place smaller items in heavy-duty trash bags or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Store inside a room or closet in the middle of the home, along back wall of garage, or inside sturdy cabinetry. TIP: Heavier bags/storage containers may fare better. No flying objects, please.
2. Inside each middle bathroom, put a supply of toilet paper rolls and packages, also boxes of facial tissues. TIP: A heavy-duty tall kitchen trash bags works great.
3. Move file cabinets with remaining (non-valuable) contents into closets in front of those heavy-duty trash bags. Push cabinets tightly against the bags, and to each other. TIP: Heavy steel file cabinets make good storage areas for bagged small items. A space-saver idea.
4. Any room left in those middle closets? Cram in small solid wood or steel chest, nightstand, even a small solid coffee table. Fill the corners. Close the doors. Then, inside front part of closet(s), snugly fit that excess stuff that you removed earlier.
5. Move some heavy furniture in front of middle closet or room to barricade your hiding spot even more. (Even if the storm might lift and move those pieces away.)
6. “Wrap” comforter or heavy blankets around each heavy, valuable furniture piece, such as antique secretary with glass. Secure with heavy rope or twine, or wide industrial tape.
7. Move breakable, sharp objects into cabinets, cupboards, drawers, etc. Leave nothing out that could be turned into a harmful weapon that could do major damage to heads, eyes, organs, limbs. TIP: Use rope or heavy twine to inter-tie off all cabinet and cupboards drawers, doors, etc.
8. Clear the tops of tables, dressers, countertops, etc. Move that stuff inside cupboards, drawers.
9. Put all small electronic appliances inside and to the back of BASE kitchen and/or pantry cabinets. TIP: First, you may want to place better ones into heavy-duty tall kitchen trash bags.
10. Look up! Clear all higher shelves of everything. That includes shelves inside cabinets, cupboards, breakfronts, bureaus, armoires; also built-in units. Example items: wall hangings, paintings, curios, collections, decorations.
11. Remove everything from walls that might move, shift, or take flight. Examples: wall hangings, paintings, curio shelves; wall-hung spice racks, knick-knack shelves, book shelf units; cooking/baking utensils, etc. No boomerangs, please.
12. “Valuables?” See section one here.
13. Flip Queen and King mattresses against sliding glass doors, French doors and any other larger spans of glass. Option: Reserve one or two to barricade corridor or room/space where you plan to wait it out. TIP: You may want to close curtains, drapes, blinds before doing this.
14. Move smaller mattresses into hallways. TIP: Other heavy furniture may help barricade here.
15. See: “…Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 4, Creating Make-Shift Shelter” for other tips. Examples: How to put other bedding to good use; how to equip and supply your hiding spot.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Not included here are tips for securing outside of home and outbuildings. Examples: Boarding and taping up windows, doors, sliding glass doors; gazebos, greenhouses, pool houses, boathouses; playhouses, treehouses, large pet houses.

Bottom Line: Secure lives first, then valuables and important papers, then the home and vehicles.

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Secure what really matters. Stay safe.
Think ahead. Act in time.
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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 4: Creating a Makeshift Shelter

Sometimes, you don’t have the option to leave where you’re at, and go to a community shelter to ride out a major storm such as a hurricane.

If you’re at work, it’s your shift. You’ll need to stay put. You may need to put in two or three straight shifts, or more. Teammates may not be able to make it in to work. Also, you may need to stay longer to help secure the property so that others – eg. hotel guests – will be safe.

If you’re at the home of a friend or relative, you may need to stay and help secure the place in case the storm hits there. You may need to take responsibility for their welfare and safety.

If you’re at home, you may or may not be able to vacate, and go to a shelter.

So, how do you create a makeshift shelter wherever you’re at? How do you protect yourself, and possibly others for whom you may be responsible? The following tips are based on preparing a temporary shelter in your home. But, they can be applied almost anywhere.

1. Be realistic. Your time and resources are probably limited. Don’t tackle more than you can handle.
2. Select a spot that will offer you the most protection. HINT: Windowless room or space in middle of structure, preferably first floor, sustaining wall. Examples: Closet, bathroom, small bedroom, pantry.
3. Remove everything from the space that might take wing in the big wind.
Examples: Bath scale, hamper, decorative hangings, cups/glasses, furniture.
4. Empty the room so that you can maximize the space. Put smaller items in heavy-duty trash bags. Securely tie shut. Place outside of your “shelter” area.
5. Move large pieces outside of area’s entry. TIP: Use them to help form a barricade around your shelter space. Examples: Oak chest, upholstered chair, table.
6. Inside “shelter” space, select the SPOT where you will actually sit it out.
7.Over that SPOT, lay large, heavy-duty trash bags. On top, place 1 or 2 large comforters. Add for each person: 1 zip-out sleeping bag or 2 blankets, 1 bed pillow/ double-cased, 2 bedsheets. Add: flashlights with fresh batteries, also 2 bottled waters per person.
8. If “shelter” space is a bathroom, set closed 1-to-5 gallon containers of water close to toilet for flushing. TIP: At least 10 gallons. You don’t know how long you will be in this space. Supply with toilet paper, moist wipes, handy-wipes, hand sanitizer; bottled waters.
9. If “shelter” space is NOT a bathroom, turn nearby spot/corner into a lavatory area. “Equip” with one or two, 5-gallon buckets or a large, heavy storage container – all with tight-fitting lids. “Supply” with package toilet paper, pack moist wipes, cylinder handy-wipes, heavy-duty trash bag, tall kitchen garbage bag; bottled waters (for drinking).
10. Fill a small plastic storage container with toiletry and hygiene aids. Secure lid. Place next to spot where you will sit. Suggested items: 2-3 packs moist wipes, First-Aid kit, 2 rolls toilet paper, 1 roll paper towels, 1 tube toothpaste, 1 toothbrush per person, 1 small or medium sized bottle mouthwash.
11. Put foods and healthy snacks that do not need preparation or cooling into another container. Close with tight lid. Place this container near “shelter” spot. Include: can opener, pack of foam or plastic plates or bowls, cups; plastic eating utensils (forks, spoons, knives); roll of paper towels.
12. Within easy reach, set large cooler/insulated container. Last minute, place freeze packs plus foods that need to stay cold. TIP: Limit items, their size and quantity to prevent spoilage, and possible poisoning. Suggested: Foods you can eat or drink from their disposable containers.
13. Within easy reach, set 1 or more cases of bottled water.
14. Within easy reach, place plastic container with “time fillers” inside. Examples: ballpoint pens, box crayolas/colored markers; puzzle booklets, activity books, “finger” puzzles (eg. Rubic Cube, Eboi); box playing cards, small game, 2 notebooks, small all-band radio/fresh batteries; extra packages of batteries, 2-3 paperback books, devotional book, your smaller Bible.

IMPORTANT TIP: Try to set up this entire area so it’s relatively safe and comfortable, also easy to keep clean, hygienic and dry.

See: Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 5: Packing for Riding Out Storm.

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Any potential major disaster needs to be respected, and taken seriously.
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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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