National Preparedness Month 2015
Posted on 09-16-2015
September is National Preparedness Month and a great time to put a plan in action with your family in case disaster strikes in the form of earthquakes, severe storms or in other forms. In addition to having an emergency kit on hand as well as a supply of water and food to last up to a week on hand, there are some very important things to know regarding power outages and gas lines.
Before Disaster Strikes:
- Know the location of your main electric switch and how to turn it off
- Know the location of your gas shutoff valve and how to shut it off. You will most likely need a 12-15 inch adjustable wrench to turn the valve.
- Know which appliances use gas and where each appliance's shutoff valve is. It may be enough to just turn off the individual valves on appliances that rely on gas rather than the main valve.
- Have an escape exit in place for each room and go over with your family.
- Make sure you have a supply of batteries on hand for flashlights and radio.
After Disaster Strikes:
- Use flashlights instead of lighting candles. Candles are an increased fire hazard especially if there is a gas leak.
- If you smell or hear the sound of gas leaking, get your family out of the house and turn off the gas valve.
- Do not use your cell phone or switch any appliances or light switches on until you know it is safe to do so. Use your cell phone outdoors, upwind, and away from any smell of gas.
- Do not turn the gas valve back on once you have shut it off. Have a qualified specialist inspect before gas is turned back on or appliance pilots are re-lit.
- Turn off all electric appliances to avoid a circuit overload. Leave a single lamp or radio on to alert you when power comes back on. Then, turn appliances on one at a time.
- Avoid areas with downed power lines which are extremely dangerous.
- Use your power generator outdoors and away from windows to avoid carbon monoxide.
- Keep your car tank half full as gas stations rely on electricity and will be down. Also, ATM's will be out-of-order, so have cash on hand.
- Medications that require refrigeration can be put on ice for several hours.
- Dim the light on your cell phone to preserve battery life.
- Have your First Aid kit stocked with bandages, antibiotic cream, alcohol, scissors and First Aid guidelines.
American Red Cross is a great source for information as well as supplies to get you prepared such as hand-crank radios with cell phone charges attached, CO monitors and First Aid kits.
Did You Know?
Natural gas in it's pure form is colorless, odorless and shapeless. Only after processing is the "rotten egg" odor added for safety. It is a combination of several gases like propane, butane, carbon dioxide, ethane, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide, but primarily made up of methane gas so when you burn it gives of heat energy.