If Hurricane Sandy hits the area hard, residents should be prepared with supplies and to watch for safety hazards.
- Insurance Policies retained with all important papers in case of the need to evacuate
- Make sure your vehicles have full gas tanks.
- If you have to leave a vehicle behind, make sure it is not in a low lying area prone to flooding.
- Top off or fill fuel tanks for outdoor grills in case they become your primary cooking appliance.
- Stake small trees, shrubs and garden plants that could break in strong wind.
- Any home ornamentation such as flags, wreaths or wind chimes should be stowed away.
- Bring in any lawn furniture or grills.
- Portable basketball backboards should be wheeled into the garage or laid down and firmly staked to the ground.
- Make sure pool covers are secure.
- Check to see that storage-building doors are closed and secure.
- Secure shutters on windows and doors.
- Trim dead or weak branches from trees and clear similar debris from the ground around your home.
When a storm threatens:
- Make sure you have a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries; a flashlight, candles or lamps; matches, a first-aid kit, canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration; several days' supply of drinking water (1 gallon per person per day) and a full tank of gas in your car.
- Pack protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags.
- Assemble an adequate supply of essential medicines, particularly prescriptions. Go to the bank for cash. Carry credit cards or make sure they are in a safe place.
- Plan ahead for a place or places to take shelter if an evacuation is ordered. Have a map handy.
- Pets may not be allowed in shelters for health or space reasons. Contact the local humane society for information on animal shelters.
- Children and the elderly have special needs. Gather whatever is necessary and make it portable.
- Teach family members how and when to turn off natural gas, electricity and water. (Professionals will have to turn them back on.) Teach children how and when to call 911, police or fire departments and which radio stations to tune to for emergency information.
- Develop a plan in case family members are separated and a plan for reuniting.
- Ask an out-of-state relative to serve as a family contact. After a hurricane, it is often easier to call long distance than locally. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.
- Watch television, listen to the radio or check the Internet for hurricane position, intensity and expected landfall.
- Put important papers in waterproof containers (take them along upon evacuating) and move all valuables to higher levels in the home.
Also, make sure to report power outages. For Dominion call 1-866-366-4357, they also provide updates through Facebookand Twitter. To report NOVEC power outages, please call 1-888-335-0500. Make sure NOVEC has your current phone number. The correct number will expedite outage reporting and power restoration. If you use a cellphone, 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500 to associate your number with your account. Please be aware that bucket trucks are unable to operate in high winds, this might delay the crews working to fix any outages.
For a complete preparedness outline, go to www.ready.gov. Also, you can begin receiving FEMA text messages by texting PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA). To unsubscribe, text STOP to 43362.
Lastly, Here are a few links that may come in handy over the next three days:
- Sign up for emergency information, news releases, traffic information, and more through Alert Loudoun at www.loudoun.gov/alert
- Loudoun County on Twitter at www.loudoun.gov/twitter; and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LoudounCountyVa
- Check for school closings at www.LCPS.org
- National Weather Service
- National Hurricane Center
- Virginia Department of Emergency Management
- Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management
- VDOT Traffic Information
- Dominion Power
- FEMA Disaster Help link: 1.800.621.FEMA
- American Red Cross Shelters: 1.866.GET.INFO (438.4636)
- U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services, Mental Health Services Administration: 1.800.273.8255