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How to Prepare for a Hurricane (or Other Disaster)

Toward the end of the first summer when I moved back to Jamestown, a hurricane was predicted. A family member put me on high alert and I gathered a gas-fired hibachi, canned goods, water, plywood for the windows, etc. My husband was shaking his head. Turned out to be just a good storm.

But then we became involved with RI Red Cross as emergency shelter volunteers. We’re not shaking our heads anymore. Every day, somewhere, there is an emergency that requires a response—a fire, loss of power, earthquake, tornado, hurricane. We’re pretty lucky here; most of our emergencies give us a little lead time. But not all of them. So, be prepared!

The Red Cross emphasizes three ways to be prepared for an emergency:

1. Put Together an Emergency Kit that is Transportable

The kit should be able to last your family for 3 days and should be in a waterproof container which you can take with you if evacuated. Replace food items and water every six months.

  • Water: 1 gallon/person/day
  • Food: non-perishable, manual can opener
  • Radio: battery or crank operated; plus a flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit, including prescription meds
  • Important papers: birth certificates, insurance policies, medical insurance and social security cards
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Special needs items for infants, elderly, disabled
  • One blanket or sleeping bag/person
  • Don’t forget the pets: carriers, leash, food, water, bowls, meds

2. Make a Plan


  • Sit down with your family and make a plan in the event of evacuation or separationDetermine 2 meeting places: one outside your home, one outside your neighborhood in case you can’t get home
  • Show family members how to turn off water and electricity at the main switches
  • Research ahead of time where you can take your pets; many shelters don’t allow them. 
  • Plan your evacuation route
  • Take a CPR and first aid course

3. Be Informed

  • Watch the news reports
  • Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio
  • Jamestown now has an emergency notification program from the police department to your home phone
  • Evacuate when you’re told, and take your pets. If you need more time, leave earlier.

  • The Red Cross has a Safe & Well internet notice board where registered users can post messages accessible to anyone who knows your phone numbers.
  • For more disaster preparedness information:

    -Joan McCauley


    Under Contract in Just Days! It Pays to Be Prepared

    Is the buying and selling of homes these days simply torturous?  It doesn't have to be.

    Ten days ago I submitted a successful offer on behalf of my buyer for 2 Seaside Drive, which had been listed just the day before by Mansions and Manors.  My client is thrilled--it is just what he was looking for. Were we lucky? No, thank you very much.  We were prepared. 

    My client and I worked together over a period of time and saw a number of properties that helped narrow his focus and informed me of what would work for him. Throughout this time we communicated regularly and put the other pieces of purchasing a home in place, such as, how will a property be paid for? What sorts of information about a property were particularly important to him. Just where did he want to be?

    The truth is, oftentimes a compromise is necessary. You may get your top 3 requirements and have to scrap the fourth one.  In fact, my client was prepared to make an offer on a different property when 2 Seaside hit the MLS. Because I receive immediate notification of new listings on my phone, I was able to determine that that this was it! And my client knew right away that "his" home was available.

    Because we had done so much homework and knew the marketplace so well, my client and I knew that this home would go quickly. He was completely prepared to make a full price offer, and he did. He saw what he wanted and he acted on it.  No debate, no game playing, simply smart decision making. It paid off.



    Thank a Volunteer

    Those of us who live in Jamestown have an inkling of how great an impact our volunteers have on the quality of our lives.  Volunteers contribute to our health and safety, entertainment, education, cultural diversity--our overall sense of community.

    If you don’t live in Jamestown, your community most likely has an army of volunteers helping the wheels turn.  What you may not experience at home, and may not even realize while visiting Jamestown, is reliance on volunteers as emergency responders—fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, ambulance drivers, divers, boat captains, etc. They are an amazing cadre of men and women who undertake extensive training, ongoing certification and training, and who are on call 24/7 to support their town and help our residents and visitors alike.

    Last weekend was the sold-out 2011 Newport Folk Festival.  I can only guess how many calls our dedicated fire and rescue volunteers responded to over the weekend.  At about 2:30 Saturday afternoon, Rescue 1 was responding to its third call of the day.  The Newport bridge was like a parking lot. Emergency vehicles only had access via oncoming lanes. Personnel were “suited up.” It was 90 degrees in the shade. Really.

    It reminded me of Fourth of July weekend 2003. I had just moved to Jamestown. I lived in the Bay View Condos, overlooking the downtown waterfront.  On that Sunday I witnessed three occasions where personnel were called out for a water emergency. Each time I saw the same cars pull into the lot, the same individuals in full gear, running toward the rescue boat. It was another blistering hot afternoon. I was overwhelmed by the selflessness of these people, these neighbors.

    Shortly after that, Friends of the Jamestown Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service was formed. Its purpose was to raise awareness of the departments to our residents and guests. To remind everyone about these terrific people in their midst. To encourage more people to volunteer.

    Today the departments have merged together.  They are still the great individuals they’ve always been.  Generations of families continue to volunteer, and “Friends” are no longer needed.

    But we cannot take these people for granted. They are our lifeblood, sometimes literally.  Give them room on the streets.  Donate to their causes. Above all, thank them!!



    A Perfect Balance in East Passage Estates of Jamestown


    East Passage Estates is a tranquil little enclave on the north end of the
    island.  It appealed to us because it offers quiet, privacy and lots of
    room. I do admit that when we moved there I was concerned about how much
    privacy from passersby our front porch offered.  So, we did a little
    planting just to give ourselves some screening.

    East Passage Estates lot sizes begin at just under 2 acres and most lots
    are right about that size. House styles are varied, as are their
    inhabitants--singles, young families, empty nesters and retirees.   A nice
    mix of perspectives and experiences.  There are two fresh water ponds with
    walking trails, and at this time of year it’s a great spot for red-winged
    blackbirds. The neighborhood association operates unobtrusively, except
    for the annual neighborhood picnic.  The street in front of the ponds is
    blocked off, the association grills hot dogs and burgers, and everyone
    shows up with a dish to share. There’s even entertainment!

    We love our front porch--use it as soon as, and as long as, we can.  As it
    turns out, it‘s not that quiet; birdsong fills the air from sunrise to
    sunset.  And privacy--forget it.  There’s a constant parade of birds at
    our feeders, squirrels in the trees, and apparently, we’re in a
    hummingbird flyway!  Very special neighbors include white-tailed deer.
    We’ve seen fawns born, watched their development, and worried when we
    don’t see them for a few days.  We have lovely, deer-resistant, Deer Off
    sprayed gardens. And passersby . . . Where?

    -Joan McCauley