The following hurricane safety tips come from the office of the state fire marshal, courtesy of Chief Phil Stevens. Keep these things in mind as Hurricane Irene is .
1. Use caution with cooking appliances.
- Do not use a charcoal or propane grill, hibachi or camping stove inside the home. This could pose a carbon monoxide or an explosion hazard.
2. Only use generators outdoors.
- Generators and other fuel-powered machines should be used outside the home and not near any openings such as windows or doors. Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
3. Water and electricity do not mix
- Watch for downed wires. All downed wires should be considered "live" and can severely injure you. Be sure to explain this to children.
- Do not venture into a flooded basement. If the outlets or the fuse box in the basement are under water, it could electrically charge the water and electrocute you. Flooded water may contain untreated sewage and cause serious health problems.
- If you fill the bathtub with water "just in case", be sure to keep all electrical appliances at a safe distance.
4. Give your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fresh batteries.
- Working smoke and CO alarms can double your family's chances of surviving a disaster and avoiding a tragedy. Make sure your smoke and CO alarms have fresh batteries.
5. Use flashlights and battery-operated candles if the power goes out.
- Candle fires have turned deadly during power outages when smoke alarms also may not work. Make sure to have plenty of extra batteries in case of prolonged power outages.
6. Gas Safety
- Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak (it smells like rotten eggs), leave the house immediately, leaving the door open. Call the fire department from your cell phone or a neighbor's house.
- Never strike a match. Any size flame or spark can cause an explosion.
7. Calling for Help
- Charge up your cell phone battery in advance. Do not be afraid to call for help in an emergency or if you think you may be in trouble. Avoid non-emergency calls to police and fire departments.
8. Make and practice a home escape plan, with two ways out and an outside meeting place.
- Teach your home's escape plan & meeting place to your family & guests. If you are visiting friends or relatives, ask about the escape plan & meeting place for their house.
9. Flooding Safety.
- If you live in an area prone to flooding, be prepared to move to a safer location if necessary. Be alert to your local fire, police or emergency management departments for evacuation warnings. A battery powered radio and spare batteries are important to get information about the changing events during and after a hurricane.
10. Prepare an Emergency Kit
- Make an emergency kit including a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food, a first aid kit, a battery powered or hand cranked radio, flashlight and extra batteries.