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Ed the plumber

As a professional home-improvement speaker, I have traveled across many coastal communities to educate homeowners on how to prepare for hurricane season. This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, so I thought I would share five basic tips on how to be prepared if you live in a hurricane-prone zone. Many of these tips apply to any natural disaster:

1. If you are told by officials to evacuate, don’t try to ride it out! Well in advance, you should have your best evacuation route identified — along with a safe destination where someone will be expecting you.

2. Have a “storm supply” box or bucket stocked and stored before hurricane season starts. It begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30. If you don’t have to evacuate, these items can be important to have during a hurricane. Items can include an AM radio, batteries, candles, matches, flashlight, etc.

3. Compile a list of important phone numbers. Do it the old-fashioned way: by using a little book and a pen. Also, have at least one direct wired landline phone available. Numbers can include those for local news radio stations, insurance agents and utility companies.

4. A storm to-do list can help remind you to pick up essentials before the storm hits — things like prescription drugs, food, water, propane tanks and cash. And you might want to keep your car’s gas tank filled up.

5. Look into a standby generator system. Standby generators are installed directly to your home and operate automatically in case your home loses electricity. Residential standby generators usually run on natural or propane gas. When sized properly, one can power your entire home.

They do have to be professionally installed, so use this week as a reminder to contact a dealer for more information.

Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.