Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

Given the overwhelming news of the day, that is – the storm track and effects of Hurricane Sandy, I thought it best to look into some helpful advice on safety. Some is common sense; much is precautionary. But in light of the current storm and after effects – some have termed it the largest storm ever to hit the east coast of the United States – it feels like today we should be talking about storm safety. Much of the following is courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.

If a major storm such as Hurricane Sandy is likely in your area, you should:


  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors. If it is important, try to protect valuable property by bringing objects under shelter. Otherwise, it might blow away.
  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.


  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
  • Turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed. This will maximize food storage if electrical power is lost.
  • Turn off propane tanks. A leak could be life-threatening.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies. Many towns now issue community alerts via phone messaging.


  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Determine how best to keep food safe during, and after, an emergency.

By building type:

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations. Avoid elevators.

By location:

  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway – construct an evacuation plan for yourself and family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

If you are directed by local authorities, be sure to follow their instructions. Residents out to gawk and sightsee at high tide or ocean waves may be in the way of community police and fire departments. Stay out of the way. Listen to the radio or TV for information. Cell phones may be a very important resource for communication and localized news and information. If you have access to the internet, log on to your local town authority. There will be current informational updates posted.


– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com