Stay Safe: What to do before and after a storm

(WVUE) - It's important to always make safety a top priority when it comes to severe weather. Entergy has provided this checklist to help your family get organized in case of a disaster.

Pre-Storm Checklist

Inside the Home

  • Stock up on nonperishable food, medicine, baby supplies, and pet food.
  • Purchase bottled water. The American Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, battery-operated radios, extension cords, emergency generators, etc., and buy extra batteries.
  • Keep extra cash on hand, since an electrical power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money from automatic teller machines or banks.
  • Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting. If the power goes out, this will keep food fresh longer. If you leave the refrigerator closed, most food will stay frozen or fresh for up to 12 hours.
  • Turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment--especially sensitive electronics.
  • Keep first aid kit and manual handy.
  • Have nonelectric can opener on hand.
  • Place your critical documents, such as birth certificates, insurance documents, special pictures, etc. in a safe box.

Outside the Home

  • Install an approved hurricane shutter system over windows and doors--or have on hand alternate coverings such as plywood.
  • When venturing outside, be on the lookout for downed power lines and stay away from them.
  • Trim trees that are NOT near power lines and clear debris. Once a hurricane warning is announced, trash pickup is suspended.
  • Fill your vehicle's gas tank.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects, such as lawn furniture, inside.
  • If you plan to lower your TV antenna, do it well before storm winds arrive. Look around to identify power lines and stay clear.
  • If you have a swimming pool, turn off all pumps and filters and wrap them in waterproof materials. Water from the storm may otherwise damage them.
  • Where possible, insulate or cover water lines, hose bibs, etc. when confronted with severe cold weather.
After the Storm
  • Stay away from downed power lines and areas of debris. Energized power lines may not be visible among the rubble. Report downed lines immediately to your power company and call your local police station or fire department. If a power line falls on your vehicle while driving, continue to drive away from the line.
  • Don’t walk in flooded areas or standing water. Remember that wet tree limbs can conduct electricity.
  • Be cautious when entering your home, and watch for snakes, insects and other animals that may have been driven to higher ground by flood water.
  • If your home is wet, open doors and windows to dry it.
  • Look for electrical system damage once power is restored. If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or the smell of hot insulation is noticeable, turn off the electricity at either the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Call an electrician for advice when necessary. Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
  • Stay alert for natural gas leaks. If you smell natural gas, or if you hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and leave the area immediately. Do not operate electrical switches. If possible, turn the outside main gas valve off and call the gas company from a neighbor’s house.
  • Check for sewage and water line damage. Avoid using the toilets and call a plumber if you suspect they are damaged. If water pipes are damaged, avoid tap water and contact the water company immediately.
  • Examine all foods in the refrigerator and dispose of anything that has spoiled.
  • If you use portable electric generators, do so only in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Never connect a generator directly to a building’s wiring without a licensed electrician disconnecting the house wiring from your power service. Otherwise, it can create a safety hazard for the customer or linemen working to restore power. And it may damage the generator or the house wiring.
  • Stay tuned to your local radio station for emerging safety information.
  • Take numerous pictures of any damage to your house, as well as the contents, for insurance claims.

Help your neighbor, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Tend to the injured, and call emergency personnel for help when it's needed.

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