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Hurricane Safety Tips

Both during and after a hurricane, those living in the area of impact are exposed to an enormous amount of risks. The most effective way to stay safe is to be prepared. Check forecasts regularly and alert your loved ones if a storm is heading your way. Familiarize yourself with how your area reports and responds to disaster conditions so that you can respond effectively in the event of a disaster. Make yourself aware of community-specific evacuation plans in your area.

Keep a list of emergency contacts where it is easily accessible. On this list, include your local utility company. By investing in a NOAA weather radio, you’ll be able to stay up-to-date with changes in the weather, even if power has been lost.

Prepare an emergency kit where it is easy accessible, containing items such as water, food, and a first aid kit. Keep enough food on hand for between three and seven days. The best types of foods are non-perishable, packaged, or canned. Access to water in the aftermath of a hurricane is important so that you can remain bathed and hydrated. If a hurricane is headed your way, fill your bathtub and other containers with water and stock up on bottled water.

If you have time mid-evacuation, turn off your main circuit breaker and unplug your electrical appliances. Do not attempt to shut off power from your breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. Instead, call your utility and request that power be shut off at the meter.

Remember that you should respond to evacuation orders immediately.  Never evacuate if your road is flooded, as this can obscure potential electrical hazards. Flash flooding is dangerous not only from the potential risks, but also from the potential of floodwaters covering up electrical hazards.

Keep in mind that damaged electrical equipment cannot always be visually detected.  It does not need to be arcing or sparking to be dangerous.  Stay especially far from power lines which might have been downed during the storm. If you see a downed line, call 911 immediately and stay far away to reduce the chance of risks.

If you’re using a generator to restore power, make sure that you understand how to operate it to best reduce danger. Remember to never plug your generator directly into your home’s wiring and not to operate the generator in wet conditions. Review your owner’s manual regularly so that you’re able to operate it safely. If flooding has taken place in your area, stay out of basements, as they can provide risks of electrical shock.