It’s hard to predict when wild weather is going to knock out electric power for a long duration. So now is the time to prepare to live as comfortably as possible in your home for days without modern conveniences.
- Protect all windows by installing commercial shutters or preparing 5/8-inch plywood panels.
- Garage doors are frequently the first feature in a home to fail. Reinforce all garage doors so that they are able to withstand high winds.
- If you do not live in an evacuation zone or manufactured housing, designate an interior room with no windows or external doors as a “safe room.”
- If you live in an evacuation zone, DO NOT plan to stay during a hurricane.
- Before hurricane season, assess your property to ensure that landscaping and trees do not become a wind hazard. Trim all dead wood, weak branches or overhanging branches from all trees. Any dead tree near a home is a hazard.
- Consider using landscaping materials other than gravel or rocks, which can become flying missiles.
When a hurricane threatens, evacuating is the smartest move. When local officials call for an evacuation, get going without delay.
- Discuss evacuation plans with your family BEFORE hurricane season (June 1 through November 30). Make a checklist of what you need to do before you leave town and review it periodically.
- Monitor NOAA weather radio and local TV and radio broadcasts during storm season.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit, including: radio, flashlight, extra batteries, extra eyeglasses, bottled water, nonperishable food, dry clothes, bedding, insurance information, important documents, medications, copies of prescriptions and special products for babies, the elderly and medically fragile family members.
- Learn your evacuation routes before storm season. Make sure you have a FULL TANK OF GAS before you leave. Expect traffic delays.
- Dial 2-1-1 to register if you have special health-care needs or if you simply do not have transportation. Registration must be done in advance, according to the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management.
It helps to talk to your children about what might happen during hurricane season. It really helps to talk to them about what could happen if the area must be evacuated.
Here are some tips:
- Reassure children that you have a hurricane plan and tell them what it is.
- Let children know that this plan is just like other plans — knowing what to do in case of a fire or preparing for the first day of school.
- For young children, who assimilate information slowly; repeat your plans again and again.
- Involve children in hurricane preparations as much as their ages and abilities allow. A small child can help stock canned goods. A school-aged child can have a hurricane preparation responsibility, such as bringing in the lawn furniture.
- Remember that small children take explanations literally. Use simple language they’ll understand and have them repeat explanations back to you in their own words.
- Let your children tell you about their fears or concerns. Children love the opportunity to teach their parents.
- Put your own worries in context. For example, let children know that possible damage from a hurricane worries you — you don’t want to lose your house or all the possessions in it — but the important thing is keeping your family safe.
If your lights go off during a storm, be prepared for the power outage. Assemble supplies to have on hand rather than rushing around when the storm is coming and waiting in long lines for milk or bread. Rotate your supplies to keep them fresh and use the following checklist to prepare for power outages:
- Keep a 3- to 5-day supply of drinking water in plastic bottles. Plan on at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
- Store a manual can opener with enough nonperishable foods for 3 to 5 days. Canned meats, tuna fish and peanut butter are good foods to store. Don’t forget pet foods!
- Conserve water by using paper plates and plastic utensils.
- Have a camp stove or grill for outdoor cooking.
Severe weather events can mean power outages, and although it may only be a matter of minutes or hours before Fayette Electric’s crews restore power, the safety of food in the refrigerator and freezer is a big concern for most of us.
It’s important to keep cold food safe during a power outage, and a little advanced preparation and know-how can keep your family safe from food-borne bacteria. Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140°F, and if these foods are consumed, people can become very sick.
Steps to follow to prepare for a possible weather emergency
- Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. In case of a power outage, it can help determine the safety of the food.
- Make sure the freezer is at 0°F or below and the refrigerator is at 40°F or below.
- Freeze containers of water ahead of time for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out.
- Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
Steps to follow after the weather emergency
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
- The refrigerator will keep food safe for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.
- Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.
- Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below when checked with a food thermometer.
- Never taste a food to determine its safety!
When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service
- Have a portable,battery-powered radio and alarm clock.
- Have one non-portable phone that will work even if power is interrupted.
- Plan where to meet and how to communicate with family members if separated.
- Keep essential family member contact information near your phone, in your wallet, and in your glove compartment.
- Keep plenty of gas in your car.
- Keep extra batteries, matches, propane, charcoal and firewood.
- Coordinate with neighbors for care of the elderly and disabled living alone.
- Maintain a supply of prescriptions, nonprescription drugs, vitamins and special dietary foods.
- Playing cards, books, drawing and writing supplies, and board games help pass the time.
- Keep sanitary and personal hygiene supplies replenished. Premoistened cleansing towelettes are useful and help conserve water.
- Use plastic trash bags and ties for garbage.
- Put first-aid kits in your home and car.
- Make sure you have cold weather clothing, foul weather gear, blankets and sleeping bags.
- Consider purchasing alternative UL-approved heating devices. For example, a fireplace insert or woodstove will keep the heat in your home instead of up the chimney.
- Use flashlights and other battery-operated lighting instead of candles.
- Keep fire extinguishers fully charged.
- Fill your bathtub with water for bathroom use before the storm (if you have a well).