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Be Prepared for a Hurricane
Preventing Accidents Around Your Home
Fire Safety Tips
Are your circuits overloaded?
Electrical Storm Safety Tips
Wood Stove Safety Tips
Warning Signs of Chimney Problems
When You're Away From Home
RVOS is not only here to give you peace of mind in the event of a disaster, but we also want to help you be prepared. Preparing for a hurricane can help prevent property damage and more importantly help protect your family from harm. Below are several steps you can take in getting prepared for a hurricane.
Know what to expect by understanding terms used by your local weather professionals. Television and radio stations will issue a hurricane watch when hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected to occur within 24 hours. Other websites such as the National Hurricane Center can assist you in keeping track of a storm.
Learn evacuation routes and know where you will go if you must evacuate. Have a place to meet and an out of state relative or friend that everyone in the family can call to check-in. This will help in locating each other if you become separated during an evacuation or if you can not evacuate together.
Stock-up on emergency supplies. Test generators, weather radios and flashlights in advance. Pack supplies in your vehicle when a storm is predicted. Don't forget extra batteries for flashlights and battery-powered radios. Pack non-perishable food items, such as canned goods and remember to pack the can opener. Have bottled water on hand. Clothes, cash and a credit card will also be very important to have ready in case of a hurricane. Even if you do not need to evacuate, if electricity fails and is out for an extended period of time, you will not be able to use bank machines to retrieve cash. Service vehicles you will use to evacuate and make sure you have a full tank of gas prior to an evacuation being issued.
Have a plan for your pets too. Call your veterinarian to find out about where you can take your pet if you can not take them with you during an evacuation. If you are planning to go to a shelter, check in advance to see if they will allow pets. Make sure your pet has an ID tag and you have shot records in your possession.
Also, prepare to protect your property. Have plywood on hand to protect windows, or have storm shutters installed prior to hurricane season. If a hurricane watch is issued protect loose, light weight items such as trash cans, garden supplies or lawn furniture by storing them in outbuildings or garages if possible. Well in advance of a storm, clean out rain gutters and trim shrubs and trees. Review your insurance policy and contact your agent if you have any questions about your coverage. You should also know how to file a claim in case damage occurs.
The important thing is to have a plan and be ready to activate it! Everyone in the family should know the plan and should not hesitate to take action in the event of a storm.
For more information on preparing for a hurricane, visit the Governor's Division of Emergency Management website.
A few simple precautions can help prevent many common household accidents. Make your home safer by using these tips:
Make sure stairs are clearly lit. Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairways.
Keep exits and passageways free of boxes, furniture and other tripping hazards. Regularly clear the floor of toys, games,
magazines and other obstructions.
Make sure you can see over the top of what you're carrying to avoid tripping.
Make sure that all of your small rugs have slip-resistant backing. Put cut-to-fit rubber matting or two-sided tape on rugs that don't have their own backing.
Mark sliding glass doors with decals or decorations. Someone could easily walk through what looks like an open door.
Wipe up spilled water, grease or food peelings immediately to prevent slipping.
Place a rubber mat or adhesive strip on the bathtub floor. This will reduce the possibility of slipping in the bathtub.
Purchase bedroom night-lights for children and elderly people. Falls can happen easily in a dark bedroom.
Wear shatterproof safety glasses when operating any power tool. If you wear eyeglasses, use safety glasses that fit over them.
Never store inedible products in the same place as food. This may result in an accidental poisoning.
Don't save medicine. Discard all leftover medications by flushing them down the toilet.
Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Test them once a month and replace batteries twice a year.
Plan two escape routes.
Practice fire drills using a smoke detector and both escape routes.
Have your heating and electrical systems checked by a professional to make sure they are in good working order.
Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned of soot and creosote build-up.
Follow instructions on appliances and heating units.
Don't overload electrical outlets. (ARE YOUR CIRCUITS OVERLOADED LINK)
Store important documents in a fireproof box or in airtight appliances like your refrigerator.
Leave your home before you call for help.
Feel each door for heat before you open it.
Crawl close to the floor to limit smoke intake.
Older homes and apartments often have outdated wiring, increasing the risk of a fire. You are at risk if you can answer yes to any of the following questions:
One appliance must be disconnected in order to plug in another.
"Octopus" outlets are excessively used.
Extension cords are excessively used.
Fuses blow frequently.
Circuit breakers trip frequently.
Appliances such as toasters or irons are slow to heat.
Lights dim noticeably when another appliance is in use.
Furniture arrangement is limited due to a shortage of available outlets.
A lack of three or four-way light switches.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call a professional electrician to inspect and update your electrical system.
When a Hurricane Watch is issued:
Bring objects such as lawn furniture and trash cans inside.
Cover all of you home's windows with shutters or plywood.
Fill your car's gas tank.
Double check tie-downs.
Stock up on batteries, non-perishable foods, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.
When a Hurricane Warning is Issued:
Listen to warnings, and leave if advised.
Know that the calm "eye" of the storm is deceptive. It does not mean that the storm is over.
Prepare for the possibility of a tornado.
Stay away from flooded areas. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and take an alternate route.
When a Tornado Watch is Issued:
Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you.
When a Tornado Warning is Issued:
Discuss safety options and determine a family safe place.
Leave your manufactured home immediately when a tornado warning is issued and go to your pre-planned family safe place.
Lie down in a low area with your hands covering the back of your head and neck.
Before a Storm
Install surge protectors for your appliances to help prevent damage from lightning.
Pay attention to weather changes. Lightning often precedes rain; so don't wait for raindrops before heading indoors.
When a Storm is Approaching
Unplug your appliance power cords and cables from outlets.
Lightning can travel through wiring and water pipes, so unplug appliances.
Avoid using a corded telephone or any electrical appliances.
Avoid taking a bath or shower.
Turn off the air conditioner.
Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break, the shades may prevent glass from shattering into your home.
After the Storm
Keep away from downed power lines. Some live wires spark and snap, some don't, but both are equally dangerous.
Wood stoves are a popular heating source for manufactured homes, especially for older models. Be sure to take appropriate precautions to avoid any risk to your family and home.
Open dampers before starting a fire in your wood stove.
Vent your stove properly and insulate the vent from any flammable materials.
Use paper and kindling wood to ignite a fire. Avoid using lighter fluid, kerosene, or gasoline.
Keep dry wood and paper away from the stove.
Remember slow-burning fires can create creosote and soot problems. Small hot fires are more efficient.
Weekly: Clean the ashes from your stove every week during the heating season. Dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid and store away from your home and combustibles.
Monthly: Inspect your pipes and connections monthly for creosote and soot build-up.
Build up of creosote (dripping from the base of the chimney or staining of the outer chimney shell).
Sluggish draft (smoke spilling out when wood stove door is opened).
Corrosion of the outer shell of a factory built chimney.
Deterioration of the chimney's brickwork.
Tell your local police department and a dependable neighbor that you will be away so that they can keep an eye on your house.
Hold mail and newspaper delivery.
Use automatic timers for lights.
Lower the volume of your phone's ringer and answering machine so that it can't be heard from outside.
Have someone mow your lawn or shovel your walk.