Alabama Severe Weather Preparedness Week serves as safety reminder

Tax break makes this an ideal time to buy supplies, review safety plans

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has designated Feb. 18-23 as Alabama Severe Weather Awareness Week, reminding Alabamians of the need to prepare ahead of severe weather.

The week culminates Friday through Sunday with the seventh annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. All weekend, Alabama residents can purchase, free of state sales tax, items for their emergency kits and to protect their homes or businesses from severe weather.

In addition to the opportunity to stock up on supplies at a discount, emergency management experts advise families to review their readiness plans. Dangerous weather can strike quickly in Alabama, in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, flash flooding or severe thunderstorms.

Here are some tips from Alabama Power on how to be better prepared for severe weather and its potential aftermath:

Before the storm

  1. Charge cellphones, pagers and other electronic devices.
  2. Have several flashlights with extra batteries on hand as well as a first-aid kit.
  3. Have on hand a three-day minimum supply of water – one gallon per person per day,
    plus three days’ supply of food and drink that does not have to be refrigerated.
  4. Use a battery-operated weather radio to stay informed.
  5. If the weather is warm, turn down the thermostat to cool your house. If you keep
    doors and windows closed after the storm, you can keep your house relatively cool for about 48 hours.
  6. Seek shelter inside a sturdy building. In the event of a tornado, the safest place is on
    the lowest level. Choose a small room with no windows, such as an interior closet,
    hallway or bathroom.

After the storm

  1. If power is out, you can report online at www.alabamapower.com. You can also call the automated reporting system at 1-800-888-APCO (2726).
  2. Turn off appliances to avoid any potential safety hazards when power is restored.
  3. Stay away from downed lines. Do not drive over lines or under low-hanging lines. Keep children and pets away from downed lines. Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or anything else caught in power lines, and stay clear of fallen trees or debris where downed lines may be hidden. Call Alabama Power at 1-800-888-APCO (2726) or contact local law enforcement if you see downed lines.

GENERATOR SAFETY TIPS: More people are purchasing portable generators to keep appliances running during outages. While generators can be a convenience, they can also be deadly when used improperly.

  1.  Read and follow carefully the manufacturer’s instructions before using a generator.
  2.  Do not plug in portable generators to your household wiring. This can cause serious
     injury to you and to Alabama Power employees working on the lines in your
     neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances – such as freezers and
     refrigerators – directly to the generator.
  3.  To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, operate generators outdoors in a
     well-ventilated, dry area that is away from air intakes to the home, including window
     air conditioners. A good location is an open shed. Never use a portable generator
     indoors or in attached garages.

To learn more about how Alabama Power responds to storms and how you can prepare, visit https://alabamanewscenter.com/storm-safety/. Also, visit http://alpwr.co/stormsafetykit for more information on what to include in your storm safety kit.