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How to prepare for Hurricane Florence

aheymann@vagazette.com,

With Hurricane Florence on the horizon, here are some tips from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management — and some of our own — on how to best prepare for a worst-case scenario:

  • Stock up: purchase bottled water, no-cook meals and food, pet food, batteries, flashlights and candles. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management recommends folks have at least 3-days of supplies on hand at all times.
  • Charge all phones and electronics ahead of time. It is also a good idea to buy and charge up an external battery.
  • Don’t fumble around in the dark, keep emergency supplies handy or in a central location in your home.
  • Fill up a cooler with ice so if your power goes out you can make sure your perishable goods, like meat, don’t go bad during the outage. Fill your freezer with ice to keep frozen goods frozen longer if the power does go out.
  • Keep at least one week of medications and prescriptions on hand at all times, and keep your medical equipment and first aid kits handy.
  • Prepare a go-bag: if your neighborhood is evacuated be ready. Have all your important documents in a waterproof container. Have clothes, keepsakes, and prescription medicines packed in a bag in a place you can grab if you need to leave your home on short notice.
  • Wear sturdy shoes when venturing outside after the storm.
  • Write down important phone numbers, addresses and email addresses and keep copies of them on hand.
  • To make the most out of candles, place them against mirrors to reflect the light.
  • Like the rest of the week, the night of the storm is likely to be hot. Keeping a hand fan nearby may grant some relief from the heat if your air conditioning goes out.
  • Clean up your yard before the storm — anything that the wind can blow around can cause damage to your home or your car.
  • Clean your gutters — you want to keep as much water as far away from your foundation as possible.
  • Make sure to bring in anything that could collect water during the storm. After the sky clears, still water becomes the perfect spot for mosquito eggs.
  • If you live outside the primary service area of your locality on a well-water system, fill your bathtub or several buckets with water to make sure you can flush your toilet if the power goes out.

Recommendations for pets

  • Keep identification on your pets at all times.
  • Write down a description and take plenty of photos of your pets that could be used to identify them if they get loose during the storm or an evacuation.
  • Keep a half gallon of water, pet food and medicines on hand for each pet for each day, count on sheltering in place for at least three days.
  • Write down your pet’s medical history and their feeding schedule in case you are separated from your pet.
  • Pack bowls, food, water, collars, a leash, toys, bedding, and a carrier as part of a pet go-bag.
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