January 15, 2020
As Hurricane Florence surges toward the East Coast, residents should take some time to prepare for the effects of the storm to protect life and property. While it’s hard to know whether the Our Towns Habitat for Humanity service area will experience high wind, rain or both until the storm’s path is more clear, it’s best to be ready for the possibilities. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Secure any items on the exterior of your home, such as patio furniture, or bring them inside. During high winds, loose items can be picked up by the wind and become projectiles, causing potential injury and property damage. Trim back any tree branches that are at risk of breaking and causing damage.
- Fill your gas tank early.
- Make sure you have a supply of potable (drinkable) water. Water quality may be affected during a storm, making tap water unsafe to drink. You can buy bottled water, or fill clean containers with tap water ahead of time.
- Also have water to flush toilets, if power outages affect the water system. For this, fill your bathtub and available buckets with water in advance.
- Be sure to have flashlights and fresh batteries on hand. Avoid using candles, which can be a safety concern.
- Be sure to have a supply of canned, non-perishable food on in hand in case of prolonged power outages. It may be a good idea to pre-cook any meat in your refrigerator. If power is lost, avoid opening the freezer and refrigerator to keep food cold as long as possible. Consider freezing gallons of water in advance, which also help keep food cold longer during a power outage.
- If you lose power, a grill or propane stove are a good way to cook food, but make sure you use them outdoors (after the storm has passed) and a safe distance from your home. Not only are these items a fire risk inside the home, they can cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Generators should NEVER be operated inside a home and should be at least 20-25 feet away from the home. These can also create deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure to test your fire and carbon monoxide alarms.