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Don’t be a hurricane statistic

September 13, 2017   By Willard Strong in Safety

A portable generator can come in handy in the aftermath of severe weather, but remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.

Another weather event has come and gone and with it, the humanitarian toll that a hurricane or tropical storm typically brings.

Sadly, there are fatalities with bad weather. We should all learn how to stay safe when it comes to storms and preparing for them.

Generator Safety: One man died when a gasoline-powered generator was being operated in a garage, apparently with the door closed. A man died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Never, ever operate a generator, lawn mower, automobile or any internal combustion engine in an enclosed area. Even with the garage door open, one can be overcome by fumes.

A lot of generators were sold leading up to Irma. Undoubtedly, many buyers had no experience with generators. It’s very important to read the manual and think safety when using a generator. For example, be careful when fueling them. Do it outside, away from your house, and keep gasoline away from an open flame, including cigarettes or a gas, or charcoal grill. Gasoline vapor can easily ignite and the next thing you know, your house could be on fire and you’re praying for the fire department to arrive. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Also, be careful when storing gasoline.

Tree Safety: Another man in the Palmetto State lost his life when a tree limb fell on him. That can’t always be avoided, but you can prepare. It’s good to trim or prune limbs that may pose a danger before tropical force or hurricane winds come a calling. When the storm’s going on, stay inside. I saw firsthand the power of the wind from last year’s Hurricane Matthew, which uprooted mighty oaks that destroyed homes and buildings.

Road Safety: Stay off the road. If there’s no reason for you to be riding around, don’t venture out. After the storm, don’t touch downed power lines. Presume they’re energized and report it to Santee Cooper or your power company.

Hurricane season is in full swing and the tropics have been very active this year. The season ends on Dec. 1, so these scenarios may come into play once again. Let’s hope the active tropics calm down. But it’s not a matter if another yet unnamed storm enters our lives, it’s a matter of when. By using good, common sense, chances are you, your family and friends will be fine.