September is National Preparedness Month
Photo: FEMA News Photo
It’s the worst-case scenario. A major storm was predicted and this time, the predictions were right. Many power lines are down, and your electricity may be out for several days or weeks. You are low on everything––food, pet supplies, toilet paper, batteries, diapers and your medication.
Imagine how you would feel in this situation. Some of us even experienced these scenarios first-hand. While you can’t predict which weather forecast will come true, you can plan ahead so when a severe weather event strikes, you have the tools and resources to effectively weather the storm. September is National Preparedness Month. It's a good time to visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan and brush up on your storm preparedness plan. Here are some items to consider:
• Stock your pantry with a 3-7 day (or more) supply of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, water and other essentials (i.e., diapers/toiletries).
• Confirm you have adequate sanitation & hygiene supplies including towelettes, soap & hand sanitizer.
• Stock your First Aid kit with pain relievers, bandages, medical essentials & make sure your prescriptions are current.
• Set aside basic household items, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener & portable, battery-powered radio or TV.
• Organize emergency supplies so they are in an easily accessible location.
If a severe storm such as a hurricane is expected with high winds and sustained rain, you may need to take extra steps to safeguard your home. Shutter windows and securely close exterior doors. Fully charge all cell phones, laptops and devices so you have maximum power in the event of a power outage. If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of power you will need, and always review the manufacturer’s instructions to operate it safely.
In the event of an outage, turn off appliances, TVs, computers and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge, and will also help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so you will know when power is restored. If utilizing a small household generator, consider using LED holiday lights to illuminate a living area. A strand of 100 white lights draws little energy yet produces considerable light. Solar lights also work, if they can receive some sunlight during the day for charging.
Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates, or check West Florida Electric’s (WFEC) app, Facebook page or website for restoration updates.
After the storm, avoid downed power lines and walking through flooded areas where power lines could be submerged. Allow ample room for utility crews to safely perform their jobs – including on your property.
Advance planning for severe storms or other emergencies can reduce stress and anxiety caused by the weather event and can lessen the impact of the storm’s effects. Sign up for NOAA emergency alerts and warnings and install WFEC’s app to your phone to stay abreast of restoration efforts and other important co-op news and information. Act today, because there is power in planning.