Helpful hurricane tips from Cannon Scott Holcombe
· Go to your cellphone provider and download the FEMA app (it is available for apple and android phones.) Once you download the app, create a user name and designate what city that you live in, this app will tell you where shelters are nearby, what the weather is like, give updates on winds and storm surges, etc. It will also tell you where special needs shelters and and shelters that permit pets.
· There is also a very good resource that is called floridadisaster.org that will give factual news with a minimum of editorial comment or politics!
· Fill up large plastic containers with water and place the containers in a tub or out of the way place for reserve washing, bathing, flushing, etc. If water goes off or you lose water pressure, you can take the lid off the back of the toilet and dump in (all at one time) about 3-4 quarts of water - the toilet will "flush" as though you had water pressure!
· Keep a battery powered radio available and listen for any boil water alerts in your local area. If the local water pipes rupture, the drinking water may not be safe for drinking.
· If your freezer is mostly empty, fill up plastic containers with water and freeze them now. If the power goes out, having a nearly full freezer will protect what food you have for as long as possible.
· If you can find a bag or two of ice, place them in a cooler and use this for cool drinks. That way you will not have to open the freezer door for ice for cold drinks.
· Do not use charcoal or propane indoors or in closed area like a garage. The CO2 levels can be deadly.
· If you have a gas generator, make sure that the unit is outside or on an open porch- and that only an extension cord is run into the house to power necessary items.
· Here is a good trick if you have never been through a hurricane before... take a tupperware container that holds about 1-2 cups of liquid, and fill 1/2 way with water. Put in the freezer compartment and freeze until solid. Place a quarter on the frozen surface of the container and return it to the freezer. If you lose power, open the refrigerator and freezer door as little as possible. When the power is restored, look at your container. If the quarter remains on the top of the ice- that means your freezer compartment maintained a safe temperature during the power outage and you are likely safe to continue to eat any food remaining in the freezer. If the quarter has dropped and is midway or at the bottom of the ice or the container of water, that means your freezer did not maintain a safe temperature and any remaining food in your freezer should be discarded. Make a list of discarded items from your refrigerator- you may be able to make a claim on your homeowners or renters insurance to recoup your loss
· Make sure that you know how to disconnect the chain or belt drive on your garage door opener- there is usually a handle on a rope that hangs down. If there is no power for your garage door opener, you will have to pull the release handle and manually open the garage door. After the storm, simply press the garage door button and the handle will engage the next time the garage door is opened. Some people always leave one car outside during a storm so that they have a vehicle to drive.
· It is tempting after a storm to drive around and look at the damage. This is strongly discouraged! Downed power lines and water depth are unpredictable so it is best to stay inside until things are declared all clear.
· If you are in a motel, living or visiting on a barrier island, please know that the bridges will close when the winds reach a certain velocity. Once the bridges are closed they remain closed until the bridges are checked by engineers to ensure safety. So if you are planning to venture out and check on someone or something on a barrier island, please wait several hours until the roads are clear. If damage is severe, you may not be allowed to enter certain areas unless you can prove that you live in those areas.
· As of noon on Tuesday, 9/27/2022 over 7,000 national guard soldiers have been mobilized from Florida and neighboring states to keep the peace and provide orderly assistance after the storm.
· Limit the use of your cellphone. If you have small recharging devices, make sure that they are all fully charged before the storm hits. You have no idea how long it may be until power is restored.
· Limit your use of candles and open flames indoors. If you must use these for light, make sure that they are set on a table, inside a pie or cake pan so in case they are knocked over they do not cause a fire. Use battery powered lights and flashlights whenever possible.