If your neighborhood is in the path of the Bomb Cyclone (how scary does this sound, BTW!) storm heading up the east coast from Florida to Virginia, take a few minutes to engage with your residents. Here are a few tips and suggestions:
Be Neighborly: Do you have elderly or single neighbors? Can you imagine going through a scary situation like this all alone? Grab a few neighbors and take stock of who is alone in your community. Knock on doors and check in—are they elderly and not able to get to the store? Some folks might be leery of driving in the dicey weather, so hop in a 4-wheel drive vehicle armed with a big grocery list and gather supplies that everyone can use. (see below). As a community leader, showing concern and care for your residents is critical to an engaged and happy place.
Communicate Local Info: Post on your website and send messages (text, voice) out to your residents to remind them where local emergency shelters in the area. Include relevant road closures, grocery store hours, and any other local information.
House Prep: Windows should be caulked and/or stripped to keep the chilly air out. Similarly, with door jams and any basement cracks. Pipes at risk of freezing should be wrapped in blankets or, alternatively you can teach your residents how to turn off water valves. Remind residents to be very careful with the use of space heaters and candles.
Build an Emergency Kit: Fill a waterproof tote with the following supplies, just in case power is out for a few days. Warm blankets for every person (and pet!) in your home, water, flashlights with extra batteries, cell phone charger banks, canned food, medicines, granola bars, and toiletries. Ready.gov has a good list for your kit.
Outdoor Prep: Take quick stock of your outdoor spaces. Are there loose items that could be blown around and cause damage to property? Flimsy deck items, toys, and holiday decorations should be moved inside, if possible.
Other tips:– Fill your car up with gas. Stock it with extra blankets, water, and some food in case evacuation orders come down.
– Refill prescriptions.
– When the storm is over, call an HOA or neighborhood meeting and discuss what went right and wrong. Take steps to remedy anything that could have been done better. Consider block captains or other strategies to help power a safe community.