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Storm supplies to have on hand

Sunday - 10/28/2012, 3:08am  ET

battery powered radio (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
A portable radio is a necessity during any storm. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)

WASHINGTON - Whether it's a mega-storm, a hurricane or a snow storm, there are storm supplies families should always have on hand.

  • Portable radio, either battery-operated or the hand-crank type. WTOP will be broadcasting throughout the storm. You can listen to WTOP on the radio, online and by app.

  • Corded telephone. You can hear WTOP on a landline at 202-380-9977.

  • Fully charged cellphone so you can check WTOP.com.

  • Extra food. Consider foods that do not require cooking or refrigeration.

  • Manual can opener.

  • Water - either bottled from the store, or bottled yourself at home from the tap. Plan on storing at least one gallon per person per day.

  • Prescription medicines. Fill any you may need ahead of time.

  • Extra baby supplies -- diapers, formula, etc.

  • First-aid supplies.

  • Flashlights and extra batteries, not candles.

  • Extra blankets.

  • Local maps.

  • Backup heating supply, such as a generator, fireplace or space heater.

  • Snow shovel and ice scraper, should there be snow.

  • Pet food and any pet supplies you may need.

  • Cash. ATMs and credit card machines may not be working.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Charge your cellphone.

  • Check the batteries in your smoke detectors and flashlights.

  • If you heat your home with propane or fuel oil, make sure you have enough to last a few days.

  • Make sure your gas tank is full.

  • Refrain from calling 911 or other emergency services unless it is a true emergency or life-threatening condition.

  • Set your thermostat a few degrees higher.

  • Make sure the account information on file with your electric utility is correct. Have the number to your utility handy, should the power go out.

  • Fill bathtubs with water in advance of severe weather.

  • Take Halloween decorations down. Even a small pumpkin can do damage to cars and houses if it is picked up by heavy winds or rushing water.

  • Rake leaves and clean out gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to roofing problems. Many gutter-cleaning crews are working around the clock until the storm hits. While it may be too late to have a professional come out and clean house gutters if you haven't already made an appointment, you should still attempt to clear them. A professional service may not be able to reach additional homes until a couple of days after the storm.

  • Generators should never be run inside. They should be located outside, away from windows and doors, so that carbon monoxide fumes don't seep in. To avoid causing a fire, people should keep hot generators away from anything combustible and let them cool off before trying to refuel them.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)