12:04 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

MAJOR STORMS, prep, go-bag

Major Storm Prep.
Links & phone#s at bottom.

If evacuation is ordered or just seems wise, are you ready?  Some tips: 

1) Gas up. You might need to leave the area. Power outages might disrupt gasoline availability.

2) Ponder leave/stay-put options and plan ahead with loved ones before the situation gets serious.
           Do you know folks in flood-prone areas?
           Will they need shelter? Can you help?
           Special needs like motorized wheelchair or oxygen tanks to plan for?
           Will you need a place to go yourself?
           Best to work out such things before  possible phone outages.

3) Get cash. 
           ATMs might be out of power or out of banknotes.
           Get cash for gas, etc. Crisis price-gouging happens.
           Credit cards are problematic if power is out.

4) Secure your residence. 
           Plan on keeping rainwater, floodwater, and looters out.
           Unplug surge-sensitive electronics.
           If in a flood zone: move vital items above the ground floor.
           Consider shutting off the gas main.
           If leaving: consider shutting off power main --and effects on freezer, etc.
           If staying: fill a few pots (maybe a tub) with drinkable water.
           If staying: if flooding possible,
           consider shutting off power main --due to shock hazard.
           If using generator: site it where carbon monoxide won't enter the house.

5) Secure your grounds.
           Remove possible wind-projectiles (benches, patio umbrellas, etc).
           If in a flood zone: protect mowers, bikes, etc.
           Floods may float away objects like gas cans, trash cans, benches, etc.

6) Don't use your car as a boat.
           Never drive across flooded roadways! Relatively shallow floodwater
           can smother the vehicle's exhaust and stop the engine.  Surprisingly
           little water can float a car. Many flood fatalities come from attempted
           high-water fording.

7) Pack a GO Bag ("Get Outta-here bag). 

For planning purposes, assume a 72-hour power outage or more.

Among recommended GO-Bag items (according to ReadyVirginia and others):

_) Cell-charger --car lighter plug-in type.
_) Cell phone [web-smartphone w/news websites can replace radio].
_) Radio --crank-power or battery power [+ batteries NIP*].
_) Road map [expect detours].
_) Notify [tell someone where you're planning to go].
_) Whistle and/or hand mirror [to signal your whereabouts to searchers].

_) Fluids [cans keep best --Jumex juice, etc].
_) Food --fridgeless, cookless [cereal bars, tinned meat, etc].
_) Can opener --if not using foil pouches or pop-top tins.
_) Utensils --perhaps disposable types.

_) Hand sanitizer --waterless.
_) Meds [power outages might disrupt prescription access].
_) Meds listing --Rx names and dosages, pharma name, insurance #.
_) First aid kit.
_) Fem hygienes.
_) Toilet paper.

Warm/cold protect:
_) Rain ponchos --plastic [doubles as emergency blanket].
_) Blanket [mylar "space" type saves packing-space].
_) Winter hat, gloves [in season].
_) Winter warmth clothing [in season].
_) Seasonably suitable outdoor shoes.
_) Windbreaker/rain jacket.
_) Insect repellant.**

_) Tree saw.
_) Work gloves.

_) Insurance papers, ID, copies of essential documents.***
_) Duct tape.

Baby needs:
_) Diaper supplies.
_) Baby food & fluids needs.
_) Sani-wipes.

Pet needs:
_) [As needed].

*NIP = New In Package. Even if unused, today's batteries often degrade if left to sit inside a flashlight or radio; when the item is needed, it might not work.  A supply of NIP batteries is more likely to be ready when needed.

**Hot weather sheltering in vehicle may involve rolling down windows to keep the temperature down --mosquito opportunity.

***Loose papers are vulnerable to water damage and of course to ID-theft. Some sources advise wrapping them in a metal foil packet and hiding it --in a rolled up sweatshirt sleeve or in a box of crackers, etc.

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Please free-up emergency responders to respond. 
Keep 911, police, and fire phone services available for actual crisis use.

For certain non-emergency uses, be aware of numbers like:
      Municipal non-emergency info:
            Charlottesville-area: 434-977-INFO
            Harrisonburg-area:  540 442 9111

      Reporting power outages/downed wires:
             Dominion Power:  866-DOM-HELP   (866-336-4357)
             Shen Val Elec Coop:  800-234-7832
             Harrisonburg Elec Comm:  540-434-5361

Off-site links:

Warn-watch map,    Roads,    Storm tracks.  

C-ville EOC,    H-burg EOC.

Road closings by county.

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( Compiled as a public service of listener-supported WMRA; Fair use with attribution approved. )