We have all heard about being prepared for a hurricane and many of us have kits already in place. It’s pretty easy when it comes to the basics, but after Hurricane Dorian, there were some really good questions that people had regarding preparedness. Here are some answers:
Should we sandbag doors and-or the garage? Sandbagging is a good option if you are concerned about water getting into your house or if you have seen some flooding in your yard.
Should we tape our windows? No. Taping windows can create large and possibly deadly pieces of glass if winds increase or debris flies around and breaks the window.
Why do some lists advise you to turn off all electric power to your house before you leave? Check out this video from Palmetto Electric. youtube.com/watch?v=rJyHydpLuQ4
Is it necessary or desirable to unplug things that are plugged into a surge protector? Not really. However, there might be power surges during the storm, so if you are concerned about surges, you might want to unplug those particular appliances or items.
If you turn off the water main to the house, is it necessary to turn off valves on the toilet, washing machine, hot water tank, and dishwasher? Check out this video from the directors of the three Public Service Districts reference shutting off water. youtube.com/watch?v=1j1-C-P1hgI. If you do decide to shut off the water, you will also need to turn off the power to your water heater.
If you fill bathtubs with water, aren’t they in danger of being too heavy and caving in?
No, your house is designed to manage the weight of the tub with water in it.
How do you “flush” a toilet with water from a bucket? Lift the toilet seat and toilet lid, resting them back against the front of the tank. This will give you a larger opening in which to pour the water.
Fill a two-gallon bucket with water from the bathtub or other source. Dump the bucket of water into the toilet bowl in one thrust.
Pouring the water in slowly will only fill the bowl, while heaving the water in is unnecessary and may create a mess. The goal is to provide as much force as an ordinary flush.
Why would you need to take bedding and towels when you evacuate, unless you are going to a shelter? Many items in your emergency kit are for when you return home, if you should have damage or limited resources. Also, if there is a local event and you are unable to return to your home, you might need those items.
What is the water and ready-to-eat food really for? Your water and food are for sheltering in place or when you return home from an evacuation. When you return home from an evacuation, there might be limited power, water supply and food.
Cinda Seamon is the fire and life safety educator for the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue.