Friday, September 5, 2008

Prepare your home for Tropical storm Hanna

VDEM News Release

For Release at Will
Sept. 5, 2008

Citizens Should Prepare Homes Before Tropical Storm Hanna Arrives

RICHMOND, Va. - Citizens still have time to prepare their families, homes and property for the potentially damaging impacts of Tropical Storm Hanna, which could bring dangerous winds, tornadoes and flash floods to Virginia Saturday morning.

“The potential for tornadoes and flash floods with this storm is very real," said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. "Falling trees could also cause widespread power outages, so you should be prepared to be without power, telephone, water or other utilities.”

State officials offer the following advice to protect lives and reduce damage before, during and after the hurricane.

Before the storm

  • Floods cause more damage and loss of life nationwide than any other natural disaster. If you live in an area subject to flooding, then you need to be prepared.
  • Learn the safest route from your home to a safe shelter from the high winds or flooding. If there is a flood, you may only have minutes to get to safety.
  • Have a battery-powered radio to stay informed in case the power goes out. Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio for National Weather Service reports and severe weather warnings.
  • Pre-pack a hurricane supplies kit with a minimum three-day supply of essential items such as water, non-perishable food, first-aid kit and extra batteries.
  • Trim back dead or weak tree branches and secure garbage cans, lawn furniture or anything that could become airborne and cause damage.
  • Fasten exterior items securely to your home to prevent them from becoming flying debris. Move loose items indoors.
  • Caulk/install weather stripping to all doors and windows to prevent wind from entering.
  • Install impact-resistant shutters or have cut-to-fit boards and mountings ready for all windows and doors.
  • Make all entry doors impact-resistant by installing head and foot bolts with a minimum one-inch bolt length into solid material to guard against wind pressure and to improve security.
  • Make an itemized list of all your personal property for insurance verification purposes.

If heavy rains occur

  • Keep your battery-powered radio tuned to a local station and follow all instructions. If you are told to evacuate, move out of the house or building to safe, high ground.
  • Be aware that floods are deceptive. Avoid known flooded areas. Floodwaters that are above your knees are dangerous. Turn around and go back to higher ground.
  • If you find floodwaters on the road while driving, turn around and find another route. The road could be washed out and rapidly rising water could lift your car and carry it away.

In addition, Virginia Dominion Power offers the following advice for homes affected by a power outage.

  • Turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as televisions, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to the appliance and possible overloads to the company’s system when power is restored.
  • Disconnect cable lines from televisions and stereos. This will prevent lightning damage to these items.
  • Leave one lamp or light on so you will know when power is restored.

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