Weekly Feature

2017-03-16 / Editorials

Keeping safe during dangerous weather

As East Aurora and the surrounding areas experienced last week, the weather in our area is unpredictable. The windstorm that left thousands without power last week is proof that Western New Yorkers need to be prepared for anything and everything. Being prepared can make all the difference, and sometimes, even be vital to staying alive.

One of the most useful things to have in a disaster is a proper emergency kit. That kit should contain a minimum of three days worth of food and water. Each person in your home should have one gallon per person, per day. Consider buying food that is easy to make and won't spoil, such as canned soup, dry pasta and powdered milk. Other essentials are a can opener and basic utensils. You should also have three days’ worth of medicine, batteries, matches, a blanket, baby wipes for cleaning up, and a whistle. Be sure to keep all important documents in a safe, waterproof location. Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, remember to keep it in an easy-to-carry — and easy-to-remember — location.

When you’re dealing with a windstorm, like the one our area experienced, there are a couple of safety factors to keep in mind should the power go out. Turn off major appliances, such as refrigerators, freezer and electric water heaters. Most food will last 24 hours, as long as the door to the refrigerator or freezer is kept closed. Do not use a natural gas or propane stove range to try and heat your home, and never use outdoor grills inside. While some appliances may need to be unplugged, leave one light switch on so you can check when the power has been restored.

Make sure your furry friends are safe, too. The easiest way to do this is to keep them with you during a disaster. Make sure they have plenty of food and water. If you must travel with them, be sure to bring all their paperwork with you, and have a kennel or carrier on hand.

If you are venturing outside for any reason, stay away from downed power lines. A downed power line can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. If for some reason you come into contact with one, shuffle your feet away from the line, keeping both feet on the ground at all times. Always assume that a downed power line is live, and don’t drive over it.

If you spot a power line that is down, call 911.

The winter storm season is hopefully behind us, but with the spring and summer approaching, a new set of weather woes will soon be upon us. Be smart and prepared when dealing with Mother Nature.

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