Even though hurricane season doesn’t “officially” begin until June 1, the nation’s first named tropical storm of the season, Alberto, has already formed off the South Carolina coast. This goes to show you…it’s never too early to prepare for an active hurricane season.

Follow the tips below to make sure you stay safe this hurricane season.

Preparing for a Hurricane:
– Have an evacuation plan for your family. Remember to include pets in your plan.
– Make sure flashlights, battery powered lanterns and other sources of light are available and batteries are fresh.
– Have an adequate supply of medicine and first aid items.
– Keep at least a two-week supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items and firewood on hand.
– Have identification and documentation on hand, including your social security card, driver’s license, birth certificate and insurance information.
– Prepare for potential power outages by unplugging sensitive electronic appliances, such as TVs, DVD players and computers. This action will protect your appliances against power surges that can occur when power is restored.
– Listen to weather forecasts and predictions for possible hurricanes.

During a Hurricane:
– Get inside a building and stay away from windows.
– Take cover in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
– Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
– Do not be fooled if there is a lull. This could be the eye of the hurricane and winds will pick back up after the eye passes.

After a Hurricane:
– Listen to local radio stations or NOAA Weather Radio for updated news.
– Always treat downed power lines and poles as if they are live and dangerous – stay away! Inform your electric cooperative immediately.
– Post-storm debris can hide fallen power lines. Even the ground can become energized near fallen power lines; be careful as you clean up debris, and if you think it’s possible that there’s a downed line under debris, call your electric cooperative.
– If you are without electricity and use a portable generator, follow the generator’s safety guidelines to avoid carbon monoxide emissions, burns and possible electrocution. If you have questions about generator safety, call your electric cooperative.
– If you cook with charcoal; make sure to do so outside to avoid build-up of carbon monoxide fumes.
– Replenish your supplies of batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food items and firewood for future hurricanes.

We can’t prevent hurricanes, but we can prepare for them – start now.

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