Important Storm Safety Reminders and Tips

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — As Sandy bears down, the Red Cross is warning people living in Northeastern Ohio: you need to be ready to take care of yourself and your family for days.

“I think the most important thing that people can do to help themselves right now is to make sure they can shelter in place for three to four days,” said Mary Alice Frank of the Red Cross.

Widespread power outages are possible, and they could last for days.

*View current outages on the FirstEnergy map here

We found people preparing for the power outage at the Target in Parma.

“I’m really kind of freaked out about this whole idea of losing power, so I’m just here to buy some stuff for the family,” said shopper Cherie Gravett.

“We live in an area that usually loses power quite a bit,” said emergency shopper Nada Ungvarsky.

“So I have just a bunch of water, diapers for the kids, but then we have flashlights and matches and batteries for the flashlights. We’ve already got plenty of candles at home,” said shopper David Born.

TIPS DURING A POWER OUTAGE

Battery-powered tap lights are a good alternative to candles.

You may also want to get a cell phone charger that runs on batteries.

Wind-up radio flashlights are good to have. They have a crank on the back, and you just wind them up. It does not need batteries.

FOOD, WATER AND OTHER SUPPLIES

You should have three or four days’ worth of food and water for each member of your family – preferably canned foods that won’t go bad, according to Ready.gov.

Have a gallon of water for each family member per day.

If you have a baby, get extra diapers and baby food.

And don’t forget about food and water for your pets.

You will also need gas. Most gas pumps are electronic and won’t work in power outage.

“Just gassing up. Preparation. Trying to make sure that is worse comes to worse we’ll still have gas,” Shaun Palmer said as he gassed up his truck in Cleveland Monday evening.

ATMs will not work either, so have extra cash on hand. Stores with no power cannot take credit or debit cards.

If you have a garage door opener, it will not open in a power outage so be sure to have your house keys with you so you can get inside.

DOWNED WIRES AND HIGH WATER

The city of Cleveland also released this list of suggestions during high water:

•Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall, and most cars cannot function in six inches of water. If you have to walk in water to ensure your safety, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

•If you must drive, leave yourself extra time to get to your destination. Rush hour travelers should expect additional delays. If a traffic light is out, treat it as a four-way stop.

• Never drive into flooded areas. Remember: “turn around, don’t drown.” If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.

• Be alert to downed power lines. Never touch, move or go near any downed or hanging lines. Call 9-1-1 or your local utility. Cleveland Public Power’s Trouble Line is 216-664-3156.

• If a line comes down on your car: stay inside, roll down your window and warn others to stay away. Call authorities or ask a passerby to call authorities. The only time you should exit a vehicle with a downed line on it is if it has caught fire. If the vehicle is on fire, open the door and jump with both feet together to avoid contact with the car.

• Secure outdoor equipment, including trash cans. Place your trash cans out the day of your collection to minimize risk. Watch for these items in the roadway.

• High water and flooded basements pose a health and electrical hazard.  To prevent electric shock, anyone with flooding in their home should contact the electric company to ask that the service be shut off before entering the home.

• Flood waters may contain dangerous materials such as fecal matter, agricultural runoff, chemicals and sharp objects.

For more about how local officials are preparing their communities for the severe weather, click here.

For more Sandy coverage, click here.

*Visit the FOX 8 Weather page