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County prepares for possibility of Irene

By Staff | Aug 26, 2011

Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management is encouraging residents of their county to make preparations now for the possibility of remnants of Hurricane Irene to come through our area this weekend.

“We may be on the backside of the rotational field, which is a situation that we have seen before in the Eastern Panhandle. The kinds of problems that we’ve experienced in the past from Hurricanes have been mostly high winds, flash flooding, and power outages,” said Barbara Miller, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Jefferson County. While Jefferson County is currently being shown in models on the cusp of this storm with the possibility of the hurricane moving either to the left or the right, I would rather residents to go ahead and prepare than to be caught with short supplies if it does visit our county.”

Here are some options for consideration from Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management:

– Remember to call 9-1-1 for all emergencies. If you do not have an emergency during the storm, please limit your calls so that emergency calls can get through. If you want to check on family and friends, please use TEXT messaging. Texting doesn’t use as much bandwidth as making a cell call and will less likely overload the system. You have a better chance getting a text message through than a phone call.

Have supplies on hand:

– Water: Unlike food, you can’t live without water. Keep as much water as you can manage on hand. Ideally you will have enough for each family member to have one gallon per day for two weeks.

– Flashlights: The power could go out at any time. Have flashlights and extra batteries on hand. Store them in a place that is easy to reach in the dark. Be careful using open candles. They may cause a fire.

– A Radio: Have a battery-powered or crank radio in an easy to reach location. If you need to shelter in place, you can listen to the radio for instructions and information. It is good to have a NOAA Weather radio, as you will get immediate watches and warnings that are given by the National Weather Service.

– Food: Stock up on the food you normally use and enjoy. Foods that don’t need refrigeration or cooking are best. If the electricity goes off, use foods that might spoil first. Then use foods from the freezer followed by nonperishables.

– Medicines: If you use prescription medicines, keep an extra supply on hand. If anyone in the family uses special medical devices, talk to your doctor about what to do if there’s a problem with them. Buy or put together a first aid kit. Take it with you if you’re asked to leave your home.

– Bank records: Keep paper copies of your bank, credit card and other financial records in a waterproof bag (like a Ziploc). You should also keep all important records in a safe location away from your home, like a safety deposit box. In case you need to leave, keep a little extra cash on hand in small bills and change. You could store it in your portable emergency kit. For in depth information on financial disaster preparedness, visit: www.operationhope.org/images/uploads/Files/effak2.pdf.

Prepare your home:

– Secure your lawn furniture, barbeque grill, potted plants and other outdoor items so that if we get strong winds, they won’t blow away or cause damage to your home.

– Clean your gutters in preparation for heavy rains.

– If you have a generator, test it to make sure it is in working order.

– If you have pets, be sure they are inside during the storm and remember to keep them in mind when stocking your family disaster kit.

Local officials are monitoring the storm as it gets closer and area agencies are making preparations just-in-case. Please monitor the weather closely over the next several days as you make your preparations.

“This is the first major hurricane of the year. Hurricane season continues through November, so whether or not Irene pays a visit, being prepared for all emergencies is encouraged. It’s just one less thing that you have to worry about during an already-stressful time,” Miller said.

For more information on preparedness, go to www.ready.gov.