Frankenstorm is coming: are you prepared?

Hurricane Sandy has already caused significant damage to the Caribbean islands and is on track to hit the Northwest parts of the United States as soon as Monday morning. To make matters worse, there is a winter storm in Sandy’s track and together, they could become the troublesome “Frankenstorm.”

As a major energy provider in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts,  Direct Energy wants to ensure that people know how to safeguard their families, homes and businesses. Direct Energy is providing useful tips in helping prepare for possible flooding, severe weather, snow and avoiding electrical issues during the aftermath:

  • Stock non-perishable food supplies, a first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, blankets and extra batteries in air-tight containers.
  • Remove fuses from air conditioning system to prevent damage.
  • Turn off water to prevent flooding from broken pipes.
  • Turn off gas to prevent leaks from occurring.
  • Adjust refrigerator temperatures to the coldest settings to reduce the potential for food spoiling if the power is temporarily lost.
  • Have a non-electric analog telephone or a fully-charged cell phone available in case you need to make an emergency call during a power outage.
  • Turn off electricity at the main circuit breaker or fuse box to protect appliances from power surges.
  • Never use a generator indoors, including garages, basements and crawlspaces, even with ventilation. Exhaust fumes contain high levels of carbon monoxide which can be deadly if inhaled. Even when left outside, keep generators away from doors and windows, and at least 10 feet away from your home.
  • Do not use electrical or gas appliances that have been wet, and do not turn on damaged appliances because of the hazards of electric shock or fire.
  • Avoid unnecessary road travel while crews are out clearing roads. Anyone taking to the streets and highways should consult local traffic information systems to anticipate driving conditions and adjust speeds and driving accordingly.
  • If you live in an area that is frequently prone to flooding, stockpile emergency building materials, including plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber nails, hammer and saw, pry bar, shovels, and sandbags.

Most importantly, have an evacuation plan in place that you and your family can memorize easily. If time allows, be sure to practice the evacuation procedures before a true emergency occurs. This should contain the safest routes with several options, in case some choices are flooded out.

Should you lose power, here is a list of contacts you should have on hand. Write them down or program them into your cell phone as computer and/or landline access may be difficult when you lose power.