As Hurricane Irene approaches Maryland, state agencies offer safety suggestions for motorists, pet owners and farmers to prepare for the storm's potential impact.
The State Highway Administration recommends the following advice for motorists:
- Do not try to cross a flooded roadway. Eighty percent of flood-related deaths occur in vehicles. Two feet of rapidly moving water can float a bus and 6 inches can knock down a person.
- Do not try to drive around police or highway personnel who are blocking roads — they are there for your safety.
- Be patient and courteous — it's contagious.
- Avoid downed or damaged power and transmission wires and cables.
- Keep alert for animals, such as deer, that will flee dangerous areas and cross roadways.
- Stay alert for traffic-signal issues related to power outages. Use extreme caution and do not assume the other drivers will stop or yield.
- Prepare your vehicle by filling the gas tank, checking tire pressure and washer fluid, charging your cellphone and bringing snacks for you and passengers.
- Exercise extreme caution as weather conditions change. If you must drive, buckle up and obey posted speed limits.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture recommends the following for domestic pet owners in the event of disaster evacuation:
- Prepare an animal evacuation kit as detailed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Be sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian.
- Have copies of your pet's vaccination history and medical records to take with you.
- Be sure your pet wears a collar with identification (tattoo, ID tag, microchip, etc.). Include a phone number.
- Have a list of places where you can evacuate with your pet (relatives, pet friendly motels, pet shelters, etc.), if instructed by emergency management personnel.
- Have at least a three-day supply of food, water, and all medication your pet takes, and a few of your pet's favorite toys. Take them with you if you and your pet are evacuated.
- Have a photo of your pet, in case it gets lost, in addition to leashes, collars, and muzzles, if necessary.
The MDA recommends the following for farmers to prepare for hurricanes or tornadoes:
- Move all poultry and livestock to high ground and shelter them in securely battened barns, houses or tightly fenced areas.
- Cover and secure all water, food and medical supplies for poultry and livestock.
- Pump and collect adequate supplies of drinking water in case of electrical failures.
- Top off all gasoline, propane and other fuel tanks.
- Check operations of all portable generators.
- Remove or secure all loose objects that could be moved by high winds.
- Board all glass windows and other similar items that could break from high winds or from objects being blown against them.
- Ensure that all animal-holding areas are as clean and sanitary as possible.
- Have available portable radios, extra batteries, flashlights and candles.
- Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials.
- Notify the MDA through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency if any agricultural assistance is needed before, during, or after the storm, including injured animals in need of veterinary assistance or dead animals that require disposal.