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Is Your Weston Family Hurricane-Ready?

WESTON, Conn. — Gena Mann of Weston listened as her family from California laughed at the earthquake that shook Weston. And now she's listening as her family in Florida prepares to move inland if Hurricane Irene strikes hard.

"I didn't feel the earthquake ... and I think we're just going to have a rainy weekend," said Mann, who was enjoying Bisceglie Pond with her children Wednesday. "My father-in-law in Palm Beach, Fla., watches the reports and boards up the house and goes inland. They've lived through a lot of terrible hurricanes down there."

Hurricane Irene threatens to bring heavy rain, wind, coastal flooding and possible damages to the area by Sunday, according to the National Weather Service . It was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday, calling for a storm surge of 9 to 12 feet and sustained winds of 111 to 130 mph. Damage in a Category 3 storm may be extensive on small buildings with low roofs, large trees and branches, and it may also cause power and water outages.

Only five hurricanes have passed within 75 miles of New York City since 1851 — Hurricane Gloria was the most recent 26 years ago, according to Weather.com.

Weston's Sgt. Matt Brodacki offers these tips to prepare for the storm:

• Have one gallon of water for each person for every day to last between three and seven days. Many of Weston's homes rely on well water and won't have running water if there is a power outage. Maintain essential needs by prefilling sinks and tubs with water. Set your refrigerator/freezer on its coldest setting and get cash, fill gas tanks and charge cell phones.

• Make sure those who need medication have enough to get through three to seven days.

• Have first aid kits, flashlights and batteries in an easily accessed area.

• Put together pet care items. Make sure a leash is on hand, especially if an outdoor pet is contained with an invisible fence. Try to coordinate animals being outside before and after the storm so they are not frightened and do not get lost. Accommodate all pets if you must evacuate. Space will be limited in pet-sheltering facilities.

• In the event you have to go outside, make sure raingear is easily accessible.

• Have toys and games available to occupy children in anticipation of a power outage.

Other tips to prepare for the storm are to:

• Hold a family meeting to discuss the hazards of hurricanes and determine the need to evacuate or relocate. Homes close to the water may need to be prepared to relocate before a storm’s arrival.

• Review insurance policies and secure important papers and valuables.

• Check the roof, windows, doors and landscaping and take precautions, such as removing weak branches from trees; checking shingles, tiles panels and gutters and securing when necessary; closing all windows; and securely fastening shutters.

• Choose a safe room — an interior room with no windows — if you need immediate protection.

• Let family, friends and caregivers know about your plans and assemble a list of important phone numbers and contacts.

During the storm, Brodacki suggests Weston residents stay in a safe place and stay off the roads if possible. Depending on the severity of the storm, the Weston Police Department will have resources available for the elderly. Brodacki asks that residents call ahead rather than wait until there is an emergency. The police department can be reached at 203-222-2600. For questions regarding electricity, call Connecticut Light & Power at 860-947-2000.

How are you preparing for the impending storm? Comment below or email shenry@thedailyweston.com.

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