Tips for how to prepare before a storm and what to do afterward
Here are some things individuals can do to prepare, be safe and minimize damage when coping with severe weather.
The tips come from AAA Carolinas and Duke Energy.
Before severe weather strikes:
– For your family, designate a safe room with no windows or exterior walls.
– Have a plan to move yourself and your family ó especially those with special needs ó to an alternate location in case you have to evacuate or experience an extended power outage.
– Plan for your pets. Make sure you have pet food, collar and leash and crates, if necessary.
– Keep emergency numbers by the phone; include out-of-state contacts for family members.
– Assemble an emergency preparedness kit (enough supplies for three to five days) with bottled water (one gallon per person per day), battery-operated radio or TV with extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight and packaged snacks.
Remember to include baby supplies and food, manual can opener, hand sanitizer or wipes and extra house and car keys.
– Gather all necessary prescriptions and medical supplies to take at a moment’s notice.
– Place all important documents ó including your insurance policies ó in a waterproof bag to take with you. Include documents like wills, deeds, birth and tax records, and marriage certificate, proof of residence, home photos and driver’s license and vehicle registration. Include house and car keys.
– Take cash and change.
– Use storm shutters for windows.
– Put freestanding objects inside.
– Listen to media broadcasts, paying special attention to any calls for evacuation. Have a portable radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio on hand to monitor official weather forecasts and other important information for your area.
– Know possible evacuation sites.
– Check your insurance coverage. Flood and windstorm insurance are not automatically covered by homeowner’s insurance. Take photos of your home before the storm, and take a camera for photos of damage later.
– Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency water supply in case power to their electric water pumps is interrupted.
– Have at least one traditional analog phone in your home that does not require electricity to operate. Cordless phones and phones with built-in answering machines will not operate during a power outage.
During severe weather:
– Continue to monitor the media for important information.
– If you lose power, alert Duke Energy by calling the utility’s toll-free, automated reporting system at 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766). Spanish speaking customers should call 1-866-4APAGON (427-2466) for outage reporting assistance. Those with access to the Internet may report an outage using an online report form.
– If you anticipate an extended loss of power, consider moving your family ó especially those with special needs ó to an alternate location.
– Assume any downed power line and anything touching it is energized and dangerous. Do not get near such lines and report the problem to Duke Energy.
– Don’t open freezers and refrigerators any more than necessary. Opening these appliances will allow food to thaw quicker.
– Turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. This will reduce the potential for damage or fire. After power is restored, wait five to 10 minutes before turning them back on.
After severe weather:
– Replenish your supplies of batteries, bottled water and non-perishable food items in preparation for future storms.
– Have a licensed electrician disconnect your generator unless the generator has an automatic disconnection device.
Safety around power lines:- Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders).
– Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen, such as backyards, fields and school yards.
– If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car. If you must get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
– Report all power line hazards to Duke Energy or your local emergency services department or agency.