TYPHOON PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY TIPS
The Commonwealth Utilities Corporation (CUC) would like to remind the community and consumers that safety is CUC’s top priority. As a storm approaches, we urge our customers to consider these TYPHOON PREPAREDNESS AND SAFETY TIPS:
A. ELECTRIC TIPS
1. Unplug appliances and other electronic equipment.
2. Stay away from electrical appliances that are still plugged in such as: toasters, electric stoves, etc.
3. During high winds, rain and typhoons, do not walk or park your vehicles under or near power lines or trees.
4. Stay away from fallen, dangling or damaged electric wires, which may still be dangerous. Call CUC immediately to report it.
5. Should a power line fall on the ground or on your vehicle, do not go near the wire – stay at least 50 feet away. Call CUC immediately to report it.
6. Should a power line fall on your vehicle while you are inside, do not open the door or try to get out. Stay inside. If you try to leave your vehicle, it can cause electrocution, severe injury or death. Do not let anyone approach your vehicle. Tell them to stay away and call CUC immediately.
7. Do not use generators without the proper electrical switches. All generators should be connected through a double throw switch to protect your property and the line crews working on the system.
8. Incorrectly connected generators can cause a back-feed through your secondary wiring back to the overhead transformer whereby re-energizing the overhead system to 7,970 volts. Severe injury and death can result from incorrectly installed generators.
9. Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if the doors and windows are open. Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows. Generators produce the odorless, colorless poisonous gas carbon monoxide and when inhaled can kill without warning.
B. WATER /WASTEWATER TIPS
1. Fill up water containers, bathtubs and tanks in anticipation of water service outage. Be informed that your area water supply may be contaminated by flooding or damages by the typhoon.
2. Store drinking water for consumption.
3. When evacuating your home or facility, turn off the main water valve.
4. CUC will continue to fill distribution storage reservoirs until power is lost. In anticipation of power outages, CUC will purposely valve off the distribution tanks to aid with rationing of water after the storm.
5. Critical facilities will be top priority to restore water services to first.
6. As the water distribution system begins to restore to normal operations, please conserve water and use sparingly. This will help our water supply last for longer periods.
7. As the sanitary sewer collection system may be hydraulically stressed, CUC wants to avoid overflows and back-ups into homes and businesses. Please help by limiting the amount of wastewater or “sewer” disposal from your home or facility.
8. TOILET TIP: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” This will help conserve water and reduce hydraulic strain on the sanitary sewer collection system.
9. Do not open sewer lateral clean outs or manholes to drain streams or flooded areas. This will cause overflows of the sewer collection system and potential health hazards.
C. QUICK TIP FOR TREATING WATER
To chlorinate your water properly, add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of liquid chlorine “bleach” per gallon of water. Stir to mix. Laundry bleach of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. Let stand 30 minutes.
If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach per gallon of water, let stand another 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
D. OTHER SAFETY MEASURES
1. Always have a communication device charged and ready. Make sure your radio and/or other communication equipment have back up batteries. Stay informed on the latest weather warnings and advisories.
2. Place important documents, such as insurance papers, passports, birth certificates, etc., in waterproof bags or containers.
3. Board up doors and windows or protect them with storm shutters. Danger to small windows is mainly from wind-driven debris. Larger windows may be broken by wind pressure.
4. Know your surroundings and how to secure your properties and loose outdoor objects that might be blown away or uprooted. Many outdoor objects that are harmless items can become missiles of destruction in typhoon force winds.
5. Fill up your vehicle with fuel.
6. Remain indoors during the typhoon. Travel is extremely dangerous especially during high winds and heavy rain showers.
7. If your home is not storm proof, evacuate to an official shelter and stay there until the typhoon is over.
8. Unless you need to evacuate, stay at home and on high ground.
9. Turn off gas valves.
10. If you must leave your gas valves on, check for leaking gas pipes throughout the storm. Do this by smell. Do not use matches or candles. If you smell gas, do this:
a. Open all windows and doors.
b. Turn off the main gas valve.
c. Leave your house immediately.
d. Don’t re-enter your house until it is safe to do so.
11. If any of your electrical appliances are wet, first turn off the main power switch in your house, then unplug the wet appliances, dry it out, reconnect it, and then, turn on the main power switch. Don’t do any of these things while you are wet or standing in water. If fuses blow when the electric power is restored, turn off the main power switch again and then inspect for short circuits in your home wiring, appliances, etc.
12. Do not consume food and water supplies that may be spoiled or contaminated.
13. Stay away from disaster areas.
14. Stay off the road. After storm sightseeing creates traffic jams and could interfere with restoration efforts, first-aid or rescue work, and may be dangerous as well.
E. GENERAL PLANNING TIPS
1. Protect yourself and your family by having a communication and emergency plan.
2. Put some money aside for emergencies.
3. Prepare a typhoon kit. See suggestions below.
4. Prepare a contact list of emergency numbers and website addresses for immediate reference.
5. Home health care patients or those who may need medical attention during a storm and those dependent on power for their medical needs should discuss emergency plans with their physician beforehand and make appropriate arrangements.
F. SUGGESTED ITEMS FOR A TYPHOON KIT
Food/Canned Goods, First Aid Kit
Drinking Water, Prescriptions
Water for Washing, Fire Extinguisher
Cellular Phone, Battery-Operated Radio
Batteries, Power Banks
Paper Towel , Toilet Paper
Bottle Opener, Manual Can Opener
Disposable Plates, Utensils/Cups/Knife
Plastic/Trash Bags, Ice Chest/Ice
Mosquito Coils, Mosquito/Bug Repellant
Portable Gas Burner, Butane
Fire Extinguisher, Money
G. OFFICIAL BULLETINS AND ADVISORIES
The CNMI Emergency Operations Center (EOC) issues warnings when inclement weather is approaching the islands of the Commonwealth. Please keep informed with bulletins and advisories issued by the Office of Homeland Security (HSEM). HSEM website: www.cnmihsem.gov.mp