Being Prepared

   Written by on August 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

This beautiful section of Virginia, for the most part, has been spared terrible weather disasters.  With the hurricane season just around the corner, none of us, no matter where we reside, can be positively sure that severe storms won’t hit us.

community-newsJust look at the damage Hurricane Sandy did in New Jersey last fall.  Many folks there are still without homes and friends of ours are just beginning to rebuild.  That hurricane was a combination of a record low pressure system, a full moon and a tidal surge that caused many coastal areas to be submerged in water.  Hurricanes can happen to us, too, even though we don’t live near a coast.

I remember Hurricane Hazel blowing through when this reporter was in school.  The county was in the midst of Fair Day when everything was suddenly cancelled.  Students were rushed to buses and care was taken to be sure that everyone had a way home, hopefully before the storm hit.

These days there is a phone system in place to make parents aware of any situation.  Times have really changed for the better.

If one watches television newscasts for only one night, the coverage of uncontrollable fires, torrential flooding rains, and foreboding coastal storms are the top stories here in our United States.  People are being swept away by flooding.  Please remember to never drive through water.

There are a number of things we can have available when hurricanes and other storms are in the forecast.  First and foremost, be prepared!  Have necessary items at home so you won’t be the one rushing out to stores with a storm brewing.

If you think the storm will cut power, have on hand three gallons of water for each person for three days.  Store batteries for flashlights, battery-operated radios and clocks.  Stock up on non-perishable food, medicine, baby supplies and pet food.

Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full.  In the event of a power outage, fuel pumps do not work.  Fill your gas cans to have gas available to operate portable generators.

Make a list of items in your chest or upright freezer to minimize the number of times it needs to be opened.  Food will stay frozen longer if the freezer remains shut.

Keep the number of your power company handy along with your electric power account number so you can report an outage quickly and accurately.

If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as water heaters, stoves and heat pumps.  Unplug TVs, microwaves and computers.  This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads when power is restored.

Don’t forget entertainment.  If power is out for an extended period of time, many electronic games will be useless.  Have puzzles, books and manual toys available.  How many times have you worked on a jigsaw puzzle during daylight when the power was out?  There’s nothing like a major snowstorm to give you time for a jigsaw puzzle.

Remember food safety always.  Meat, poultry, fish and eggs need to be refrigerated at or below 40 degrees and frozen food has to be kept at or below O degrees to remain safe to eat.  I remember setting out milk and eggs in the snow during some of our past winter snowstorms when our power went out.

There are a number of items that one should keep in his vehicle during the winter.  One never knows when a vehicle will break down or when you will get snowbound during a storm.  Of course, jumper cables, flashlights and batteries, an ice scraper, shovel and flares are the first things one lists.  But, be sure to add a first aid kit (always), non-perishable food (protein bars, etc.), bottled water, blankets, warm clothes and a cellphone charger.

Remember to take steps ahead of storms to remain safe.

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