On this day in 1992, Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Southern Florida. While Andrew was considered a “dry” storm by hurricane standards, it dumped almost 14 inches of rain on parts of Dade County. One weather station recorded a wind gust of 177 mph. In the Everglades, over 70,000 acres of trees were knocked down.
Here in Central Virginia, we don’t get hurricanes like Andrew, but we’re still impacted by them. When Isabel ripped through in 2003, some parts of the metro area were without power for weeks. When Gaston stalled as a tropical storm over downtown Richmond in 2004, an estimate from the Army Corp of Engineers said that more water was flowing through Shockoe Bottom than was flowing through the James River.
All that being said, emergencies happen, and it’s best to be prepared. If an emergency happened in your home, who would you call? Here is a list of numbers that you need to keep handy:
911: 911 is the universal emergency number for the United States. In case of fire, a dangerous accident in your home, a crime, or even a spill of pool chemicals, this number will connect you to life-saving first responders.
Utility Companies: If your power goes out or your water starts running brown, you’ll want to let them know. If your lawn service runs over a pipe and you think you smell gas, you’ll want to get it fixed, fast.
Your Veterinarian: Not all of us have pets, but those of us who do will need this number if a pet is sick or injured. Not all veterinarians work 24/7, so ask them for a referral to an emergency vet, and keep that number handy as well.
Your Neighbors: These folks are often more handy than first responders. They’re closer! In addition to being helpful when you have an emergency, it’s good to let them know when you see something happening to their property.
Plumber/Electrician/Roofer: If there’s water shooting out of your bathtub, sparks flying from an outlet, or a tree poking through your bedroom, the last thing you want to be doing is shopping for service. Our homes carry guarantees for new homeowners, but having a service that you trust is helpful in an emergency.
Your Insurance Agent: Emergencies can be costly. While you’ll typically have some out-of-pocket expenses, you’ll want to contact your insurance agent quickly to find out what’s covered and what isn’t. Will they pay to replace appliances? What if you’re forced to find different housing during the repair?
The best way to organize your emergency contacts is with a handy printed list. It’s also helpful to have them readily available in your smart phone. Some mobile devices include an app that helps you build the list. Simply tap the button, and there they are.
Be like a Boy Scout: Be Prepared.