With the beautiful fall weather we’ve had lately, it’s hard to think of stormy winter weather on its way. But, if history is any indication – and it is – we will most likely be coping with various storms this winter.
We’re reminding you now of how to get prepared because for most of us, the holiday season starts to take over our To Do lists at this time of year. But now that your summer gear is safely stowed away, before you begin the decorating, shopping, baking, entertaining and celebrating that occurs over the holiday season, take just a minute to assess what your plans and provisions are for storms and power outages.
BE PREPARED FOR POWER OUTAGES
If you are like most, sometimes during summer, the neatly packed box or bag of disaster items gets relocated, or items from it are taken out for minor “emergencies.” Now is the time to find it and take a quick inventory. If you don’t have such a box or bag, the time is now to prepare for a possible disaster – especially for power outages.
The PUD website at www.ghpud.org has a great list of items as does the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management website (www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us /departments/emergency management)
Here are some highlights of what you should do to be prepared.
Put together at least one “Go Bag” – it could be a backpack, a plastic tote or a handled cloth bag. Store it in your home, or consider storing it in your car so that you have it wherever you are.
Build up your larder now. The squirrels do it and the pioneers did it and we should do it too – stock up your shelves with food items you will use in the next few months, but will be available in case you can’t get to a store. Remember some kind of protein like spam, tuna, canned chicken or peanut butter.
Don’t forget drinking water. Have plenty on hand for you, your family and pets.
Get some cash to have on hand. Often when the power goes out stores and gas stations don’t have the ability to process credit cards. Make sure to have the money in smaller denominations – like $10s and $20s.
Consider keeping 10 gallons of gas around, safely stored. Cycle it through your lawn mower or car once a month so the supply stays fresh. Then you’ll have the gas needed for a generator – or even your car.
Make a habit of keeping your gas tank at least half full. When power goes out throughout a community that means pumping gas isn’t possible, so it’s good to be prepared. (Besides, you don’t want to run out of gas in the cold winter weather!)
Think ahead and make sure you have plenty of prescription medication on hand.
Don’t forget your pets – build up their larder – and any other things they might need, medicine, litter, etc.
KNOWING A STORM IS ON ITS WAY
Even though we should all try to be prepared at all times for the possibility of a storm or other weather event or power outage, it is still helpful to have a heads up what’s coming our way. So, we thought we’d tell you several ways to get more up-to-date information for your area.
The quickest way to receive emergency and disaster information from Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is to follow that office on Facebook and Twitter. (Twitter at twitter.com/ghcdem, and Facebook under Grays Harbor County Emergency Management.) In addition, we recommend signing up for the Grays Harbor County Notification System for emergency and disaster alerts from Grays Harbor County Emergency Management via phone call, text and e-mail. To sign up for the notification system, go to the county’s website under “info.”
Another excellent way to learn about severe weather is to purchase an All Hazard ALERT Weather Radio. This radio comes on with immediate alerts for severe weather and disaster information. They can be purchased at many hardware stores. (And they make excellent Christmas gifts!)
Speaking of radio, our excellent local AM/FM radio stations are experts at transmitting the most up-to-date information about disasters and weather conditions. You’ll want to make sure you know where to find them on your dial.