This week, residents of The Rio Grande Valley are bracing themselves for Tropical Storm Harvey. Magic Valley Electric Co-op urges its members to consider these safety tips when a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued:
Make plans for action: The best way to cope with severe weather is to always be prepared. A tropical storm warning is issued when heavy rain conditions are expected in a specified area within 24 hours or less. If a warning is given, stay tuned to radio or TV for official bulletins.
- Secure lawn furniture and other loose material outdoors.
- Consider filling the bathtub with several days supply of water.
- As with any major storm, try to have at least three days’ worth of food and water for each person in the household.
- Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent their lifting from their tracks.
- Charge your cell phones and check batteries in flashlights, stock up on canned foods and update your first aid kit.
- If the warning indicates destructive winds, consider securing windows with either tape, plywood or shutters.
- Have a manual can-opener and know how to manually open your garage door.
- A battery-backup sump pump can spare you from some flooding if power is lost.
Stay or leave? When a hurricane or tropical storm threatens your area, you will have to make the decision whether to evacuate or ride out the storm in the safety of your home. This is especially true if you live in an area already prone to flooding. Hurricanes and tropical storms can bring massive amounts of rainwater and creeks, ponds and rivers can rapidly overflow. If local authorities recommend evacuation, you should drive carefully to the nearest designated shelter using recommended evacuation routes. Make sure your house is locked and that the water and electricity are shut off. Leave food and water for pets, since many shelters do not allow them. Take small valuables with you, but travel light. Check with your neighbors who may also need some help evacuating.
Freezers/refrigerators: During an outage, open the freezer door as little as possible. With a freezer that’s full, foods can stay frozen up to 72 hours. A half-full freezer can still keep food frozen up to 24 hours after the power goes out. Should the power stay off for several days, dry ice can preserve the food in the freezer. If you have a picnic fill the cooler with ice before the storm hits.
Be cautious: During high winds, electric lines can be torn down by limbs and trees. Any dangling line or lines on the ground can be deadly. Magic Valley members may report an outage through MVECs mobile app, at www.magicvalley.coop or by calling 866-225-5683. Magic Valley encourages everyone to treat all downed power lines and poles as if they are energized and to notify Magic Valley or local law enforcement officials of downed lines as soon as possible.