Stay home, stay safe in bad storm

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002

At least three major storms loom on the horizon, and with each one, the potential for death and destruction. Even if hurricane force winds never quite reach us, the tornadoes and flooding that accompany them often do. Storm safety procedures are announced frequently, both in broadcast and in print, and yet it never fails that someone attempts to brave the storm and ends up getting injured or killed.

There are people who have to be out in a hurricane - doctors, nurses, and rescue workers such as the police, firemen and EMTs. They risk their lives to protect ours - let us make their job easier and safer for them by staying home.

Stock up your supplies now - get the bottled water, the batteries, the first aid kit. Refill your prescriptions now, not in 70 m.p.h. winds. Bring you pets in now, so that you don't have to hunt them down in the gale - animals will hide in severe weather, making them harder to find. Close your shutters, move things away from the windows, and establish a safety zone to gather in your house, away from those windows. Mobile homes offer far less security in high winds those residents should seek shelter in elsewhere.

If an evacuation order comes, remember to unplug and turn off appliances - especially the gas. Imagine having your house survive a hurricane, only to lose it to a gas explosion due to storm damage. Make sure your car is fueled up before the storm, in case you do have to leave.

The most important thing to do to protect yourself and your loved ones is follow directions. The officials have been trained and know what they are doing. If they tell you to stay home, please stay home. If they tell you to evacuate, go. If they tell you

road is too flooded to cross, believe them. Even the most up-to-date four-wheel drive can lose its grip on the road in less than an inch of water.

Unlike tornadoes or earthquakes, which can wreak devastation with little or no warning, hurricanes give us plenty of time to save ourselves - and no excuses not to.