Someone sent this great email to me today and I feel compelled to tell you about it. It is great info about Hurricane Irene.
Here are some quick preparedness and safety tips:
- Get cash. If there's no power, there's no access to ATM machines. Try to get small bills.
- Get gas. No electricity means gas stations can't pump. Fill gas cans and be sure propane tanks are full. The latter may be the only way to cook.
- Charge your mobile devices. A power failure may knock out your cellphone. And if the only other phones you have at home are cordless, you could be without any telephone service at all. Have a car charger on hand; this may be the only way to charge your cell phone. Also, charge your drill, portable DVD, etc.
- Get food, water and ice if available. You should have several days worth of non-perishable food on hand. Good non-perishables include crackers, peanut butter, jelly, milk in cardboard containers from shelf, canned foods – tuna, chicken, ravioli, soup, plenty of water to drink, brush teeth and cook with and of course, toilet paper, trash bags, paper plates, cups, plastic silverware. Store ice in coolers.
- If there's no power, you better have a good, old-fashioned manual can opener since your electric can opener will be useless.
- Water – fill your bathtubs with water. If water plants shutdown, you won’t be able to flush the toilet without pouring in water. If you have a well, the pump won’t work if the power is out.
- Frozen food - freeze large bowls of water and water bottles (after pouring some out) to help keep frozen foods cold as long as possible; and use ice if available.
- For coffee drinkers – make it ahead of time and re-heat on the grill/BBQ in a safe container or buy a coffee pot made for the grill.
- Get batteries and a radio, and know your local stations. WTOP operates at 103.5, 103.9, and 107.7 FM
- Get supplies for your pets. If you can't stay in your home, most emergency shelters will not accept pets such as dogs and cats.
- If you need to buy something, do it today. If the power is out, places like supermarkets will not have scanners or cash registers. Lines could be VERY long and thus, the reason to have cash on hand.
- Stock up on bottled water. If you get water from a well, you'll need jugs of water for personal use including toilet-flushing because if the power goes out, no well water. Fill up your bathtub, too.
- Clean out your rain gutters. If we get heavy rains, they could be a trouble spot.
- Look at large trees near your house. Find branches that could pose a potential threat in high winds, and trim them now.
- Bring in or lash down lawn and patio furniture and potted plants. Those items could turn into missiles smashing your windows in high winds. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.
- Unplug electric items to prevent damage from a power surge when the power comes back on.
- Make sure your sump pump is operating and that storm drains are not blocked. If the power goes out and your sump pump can't operate, consider getting items in your basement that would be ruined by water placed up on saw horses or tables.
- Have tarps, tape, nails, screws and an electric drill on hand in case a window or sliding door is broken. Charge the electric drill ahead of time.
During a storm:
- Avoid using candles for lighting. Use a battery-powered flashlight or fluorescent lanterns
- Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, since the candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
- Try to stay in an interior room or away from windows.
- Stay calm and do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
- If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
- During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when power returns.
- Do not go outside. Flying debris from high winds is a danger. As the eye of the storm passes, there will be a short period of calm followed by rapid wind speed increases to hurricane force that will come from the opposite direction.
After a storm:
- Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.
- Use phones only for emergencies. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
- Call police or your utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains or overturned gas tanks.
- Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road -you can be stranded or trapped.
- Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.
If your power is knocked out, call your utility company or go online from a location with power:
- Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
- Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-366-4357
- Baltimore Gas & Electric: 1-877-778-2222
- Allegheny: 1-800-255-3443
- NOVEC: 1-888-335-0500
- SMECO: 1-877-747-6326