Being fully prepared is essential in our area where storms, hurricanes and violent weather can occur regularly. Be sure you take the time to plan ahead so you and your family are safe in an emergency. To help you plan, Duke Energy offers these tips to plan ahead for stormy weather.
Before a storm threatens your area
If you haven't already done your hurricane season planning, do so now. A good rule of thumb to use when planning is to prepare as you would for a two-week camping trip for which you must be self-sufficient.
- Create (or inventory/update) an emergency supply kit to help you save valuable time later. Remember, your supply kit should be made up of everything you need for at least two weeks, especially medicines and other supplies that may be hard to find.
- Review your insurance policy and include an extra copy of it in your supply kit along with extra copies of any other important paperwork. You may need this information in case of damage or injury, and you could have trouble getting the originals from your safe deposit box.
- Review your evacuation plan and make a decision about where you will stay if you do need to leave your home and be sure to let family and friends know of your plans. Try to plan to stay with friends or relatives in a safe area since shelters could be crowded or even full. If you don't have to evacuate, invite others to stay with you. During a major storm, it's much easier with others around you. Don't forget to include your pets in the plan. Most shelters will not accept animals, so you will need to consider a friend, relative or kennel.
- If you plan to cover your windows and doors, be sure to do a test installation to make sure your covers fit and to give you practice with installation. If you use plywood for this purpose, be sure to store it in a dry place to help avoid warping.
- Check outside your home for any trees or shrubs that need to be trimmed or appear weak. Avoid trimming the foliage that is near power lines and call a professional for this possibly dangerous work.
- Have at least one phone in the house that doesn't require electricity to operate. Cordless phones or phones with built-in answering machines won't work without electricity. You will need a traditional analog phone.
- Sign up for a first aid/CPR class. Check with your local hospital's community education department or the American Red Cross for availability. Your knowledge could save lives.
When a storm threatens your area
- Without electricity, gas pumps won't work, so be sure to fill your tank early, well before a hurricane warning is issued. Also check your supply of cash, since ATMs may be inoperable and credit card transactions not possible if the electric service is out.
- Remove any items outside your home or business that may become airborne in strong winds, or securely anchor what you cannot take inside. Stock up on supplies like plywood, duct tape and any hardware needs.