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Hurricane Evacuation Information
The Town of Bellingham Local Emergency Management Agency is recommending that the residents prepare for the current hurricane season, and upcoming winter blizzard season.

Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane, FEMA recommends you should take the following measures:

Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
Consider building a safe room.
Fill your motor vehicle with gas.
Make sure that you have at least seven days medication on hand.
Have extra cash available if needed.
Have your important papers in a water tight container.

Satellite image of a hurricane.jpg

During a Hurricane

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

Listen to the radio or TV for information.
Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
Turn off propane tanks. Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Stay away from downed trees, because of electrical wires.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

·         If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
·         If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
·         If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
·         If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
·         The Bellingham Memorial  Middle School on South Main and Blackstone street is the town main  designated shelter for the town
·         Please call 911 for emergencies only, downed wires or other problems please call the Bellingham Police Station at 508-9661212 or Bellingham Fire at 508966-1112
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
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.

After a Hurricane

FEMA also recommends that homeowners take the following precautions when returning home:

·         If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noises, open windows and leave the house immediately. Turn off the gas at the main valve and call your gas utility company.
·         Watch for downed power lines. Report them immediately to the Power Company, police or fire department.
·         Check refrigerated foods for spoilage. If you even suspect that food may be unsafe, discard it.
·         If your home has suffered water damage, open windows to provide ventilation. Remove wet contents including carpet, furniture and building materials.
·         If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and contact a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.
·         Take pictures of the damage to both the house and its contents for insurance claims.
·         Do not allow children to play in or around debris piles, and check play areas for disaster-caused safety hazards.
·         Please do not ride around town to observe the damage done by the storm, emergencies crews will be working to clear debris, and to restore power to the area.

James L. Haughey
Town of Bellingham
Local Emergency Management Coordinator
Source FEMA