Sunday, June 2, 2013

Start the Season Right

Day two of Atlantic Hurricane Season, and we have a tropical low just entering the Gulf. The National Hurricane Center says it has a low chance of developing into a tropical storm.Still, if you haven't checked your storm supplies, now's a good chance to do it. Even if this storm turns out to be nothing, you'll be ready in case something serious develops between now and November 30.

Food - Do you have at least three days worth of non-perishable food, enough for your whole family, potential guests, and your pets? Remember, you won't have the use of electric can openers, the microwave, or your electric stove.

Water - The rule is one gallon of drinking water per person, per day, and you're expected to take care of yourself for at least three days. FEMA can't bring in supplies until roads are cleared and the local government coordinates someplace for them to set up their distribution center. Don't forget that you'll need additional water for washing hands. Again, don't forget your pets.

Batteries - You'll need a battery-operated or hand-crank radio and flashlights. The radio will help you get crucial information about the storm's movements once the power is knocked out. It's also how you'll find out where those FEMA distribution centers are. And it's awfully dark at night when no one for miles around has electricity. Flashlights and battery-operated lanterns are the best way to see where you're going and what you're doing after dark. Candles and hurricane lamps both put off heat (which you don't need in the South in the summertime) and pose a fire risk. Make sure you have fresh batteries for all your lights, radios, and other emergency devices.

The Florida Public Service Commission, which oversees utility companies, has put together some safety tips. Also check out the sidebar links on this page for more lists of what you need to be ready for bad weather and other disasters.

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