BETHESDA, Md. — We are just days away from the start of hurricane season and Hurricane Preparedness Week aims to get families across the country ready in case of a disaster.


The National Hurricane Center says everyone should have a plan in place for what to do during a hurricane, such as where you will go and how to get in touch with family members if you’re separated. advises families to understand their surroundings:

• Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.

• Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.

• Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

Storm surge from hurricanes are dangerous because just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult and only two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, the National Weather Service says. While strong winds cause widespread destruction, storm surge has the potential to cause the largest amount of deaths during a hurricane.


A check list is also a vital part of being prepared. Flashlights, blankets, non-perishable food, hygienic items and other necessary items should all be put into a disaster supply kit that is ready to go well before there’s a risk of a hurricane.

If you set aside a generator, remember to always have enough fuel and never to use it indoors.

In Virginia, many items like water, batteries and first-aid kits are sales tax exempt from now until the end of May.

Complete list of Va. tax exempt items:

Sales Price of $60 or less:
• Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs and reusable ice
• Batteries (excluding automobile or boat batteries), including
— AAA cell
— AA cell
— C cell
— D cell
— 6 volt
— 9 volt
— Cell phone batteries
• Any portable self-powered light sources including
— Flashlights
— Lanterns
— Glow sticks
• Tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible waterproof sheeting
• Bungee cords, rope
• Ground anchor systems or tie down
• Ratchet straps
• Duct tape
• Carbon monoxide detectors
• Smoke detectors
• Fire extinguishers
• Gas or diesel fuel tanks or containers
• Water storage containers
• Nonelectric food storage coolers
• Bottled water
• Manual can openers
• Portable self-powered radios (including self-powered radios with electrical power capability)
• Two-way radios
• Weather band radios and NOAA weather radios
• Storm shutter devices
• Cell phone chargers
• First Aid Kits

Sales Price of $1,000 or less:
• Portable generators and generator power cords
• Inverters and inverter power cables

Chain saw accessories:
• Chains
• Chain saw bar and nose lubricants
• Two-cycle motor oil
• Chain sharpeners and files
• Bars
• Wrenches
• Carrying cases and scabbards
• Safety apparel, including chaps, gloves, hearing protectors, helmets, and
protective glasses
• Repair parts

It’s also good to make a contact list of the following:

–Local Emergency Management Office
–County Law Enforcement
–County Public Safety Fire/Rescue
–State, County and City/Town Government
–Local Hospitals
–Local Utilities
–Local American Red Cross
–Your Property Insurance Agent

For more information on how to assess your area’s risk for a hurricane and how to prepare, visit the National Hurricane Center website.

WNEW’s Cameron Thompson contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.


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