MELBOURNE, Fla. — The list for preparing for a hurricane or major storm is pretty obvious: Stock up on water, batteries, candles and non-perishable foods and things like that.
The list of what NOT to do also can be pretty lengthy. Florida Today reporters talked to emergency management officials and reviewed safety lists.
Here's how residents can make things easier on themselves and first responders.
• Use a charcoal grill in the house, or even the garage really. There’s always a case or two of people doing this and succumbing to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Same thing goes with gas-powered generators. Speaking about generators, don't connect them directly to your home’s electric system. It can electrify lines outside and endanger neighbors and utility workers.
• Go joy/thrill walking or driving in a storm. It's not only dangerous because of flooding and flying debris but it could force emergency management folks to pull away from other duties.
• Visit the emergency room at hospitals for minor injuries. They’re likely to be crowded as it is with serious injuries. Your cut finger or scrape can probably wait. You know if something’s really serious or not.
• Mess around with any downed power lines. Get the heck away and notify law enforcement or the utility company.
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• Drain an in-ground pool. The water table can rise from the rain and force the pool up, perhaps out of the ground.
• Be careless using candles for light if the power goes off. The danger of fire is greater with flames and burning wax.
• Approach animals wandering after the storm. Even docile pets can be unnerved by a storm and could bite.
• Stay in your residence after an evacuation is ordered. Rescue workers will not try to reach you at the height of the storm.
• Bring guns, alcohol or pets to a public shelter. And on that note, it's probably best no to overindulge with alcohol or whatever. You'll want to keep your faculties about you as you deal with the storm and its aftermath.
• Lose your cool. Stores will be crowded with people buying goods and gas lines are likely to be long. People will be stressed and tempers will be short.
• Venture into the ocean or lagoon. There's always a danger junkie or two that wants to challenge Mother Nature's fury in the water. Those are battles you rarely win.