If the effects of Hurricane Floyd reach the Augusta area with dire results, planning ahead may keep the family safe and more comfortable. Before bad weather strikes:
*Store water, at least one gallon per person per day, more for children, nursing mothers and those who are ill; store in clean plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers and seal tightly.
*Avoid foods high in fat and protein and those that are salty; use canned foods, dry mixes and other staples from cupboards; do include foods high in calories and nutrition, and those that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking are best; stock up for those with special diets and allergies.
*Prepare evacuation plan with family and assemble emergency supplies of flashlights and extra batteries, portable battery-operated radio with extra batteries, first-aid kit and manual, non-perishable food and fresh water, can opener, essential medicines, cash and credit cards, important papers and identification and sturdy shoes and complete change of clothes. Store valuables and important papers in safety deposit box or waterproof containers.
*Designate out-of-town emergency contact person and ensure each family member knows the name and telephone number.
*Take inventory of household belongings.
*Take precautions for pets.
*Ensure each family member knows how to call for emergency help and how to turn off utilities.
*Store inside anything that the wind from a hurricane or tornado can turn into a deadly or damaging flying object -- furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans or plants, for example.
*Ensure there are enough prescription medications on hand.
*Check manufactured home tie-downs.
*Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting and open only when absolutely necessary.
*Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances; if electricity goes out, turn off major appliances to reduce the power surge when electricity is restored.
*Fill your car with gas and have extra set of keys ready.
*If there are reports of broken water or sewage lines, be prepared to shut off the incoming water valve at your home to prevent contaminated water from entering.
*If necessary, purify water by maintaining rolling boil for 3 to 5 minutes and cool, and/or use regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite by adding 16 drops per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes.
*If electricity goes off, first use perishable food from refrigerator, then food from freezer; limit the number of times you open freezer door by posting list of all contents. Food will usually be safe to eat for three days.
Schools will be closed today and Thursday in Barnwell and Allendale counties in South Carolina. In Georgia, Screven and Washington counties are closed today and Thursday. Jenkins County schools are closed today.
Schools in Richmond, Columbia, Burke and Aiken counties are in session today.
If you have a medical emergency or are a victim of crime, call 911.
If you have a problem with a residential telephone line, call BellSouth at 611. If your problem is with a business line, dial 780-2222.
If you have a problems with getting water from a municipal water tap in Augusta, call 736-8497 or, after 5 p.m., 796-5000.
If your power is out, call Georgia Power at (888) 891-0938. In South Carolina, call South Carolina Electric & Gas at (888) 333-4465.
If you have a problem with natural gas delivery, call Atlanta Gas Light Co. at (800) 427-5463. In South Carolina, call South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. at 888 333-4465.
For up-to-date traffic and statewide road closure information, call Georgia DOT's NAVIGATOR center at 368 or 368 from a cellular phone. Landline customers may call (404) 635-8000 or (888) 424-4929.
These shelters are open to people fleeing the coastal areas:
May Park Community Center, 622 Fourth Street, 724-0504; Warren Road Community Center, 300 Warren Road, 860-0986; First United Methodist Church, Thomson, (706)-595-3936; Hephzibah High School, Brothersville Road, 592-2089; Willis Foreman Elementary School, 2413 Willis Foreman Road, 592-3991; and Spirit Creek Middle School, 4044 Windsor Spring Road, 592-3987. Call the Red Cross Augusta office at 724-8481 for information.
The Aiken Red Cross opened a shelter at South Aiken High School, 232 East Pine Log Road, (803) 641-2600. For information about other shelters in Aiken County, call (803) 641-4125.
Several other shelters are ready to be opened as needed.
Also, the Alleluia Community will have shelter available. Call 798-1882.
Cancellations and closings
On Tuesday, officials with most of the upcoming weekend events said they had no plans to cancel or postpone events.
An SRS Citizens Advisory Board risk management and future use subcommittee meeting scheduled in Hilton Head Island on Saturday has been canceled.
The Dance Alive! program scheduled for Thursday, Augusta State University has been canceled.
S.C. Gov. Jim Hodges will excuse employees from reporting to work today in counties affected by extreme weather conditions expected from Hurricane Floyd. Allendale County offices will be closed all day. Barnwell County offices will close at noon, and Aiken County offices will close at 3 p.m.
The Red Cross prohibits shelters from accepting pets but local veterinarians will board them for evacuees, according to Brian Mulherin, volunteer disaster chairman for the Augusta chapter.
Q: What should we tell children about the hurricane?
A: "Assure them they will be OK. Tell them we're in the interior and that we will be safe," said Kelly Hagens-Swart, the localRed Cross shelter manager. Discussing hurricanes ahead of time will help reduce fear and anxiety, she said.
Q: What should I bring to a shelter?
A: Bring your own bedding, medication and necessities.
"You can't bring a lot, so only bring what you need for the next 72 hours," Ms. Hagens-Swart said.
Q: What should I do to protect my swimming pool?
A: "Give it a good dose of chemicals and leave it uncovered," said Sylvia Carpenter, assistant manager of Aiken Swimming Pool Co.
Q: What should I do with my pet?
A: "Bring all your pets inside or put them in a shelter," said Della Oliver, manager of Powderhouse Kennels in Aiken.
Q: What should I do if I have to evacuate my home?
A: Take your pets with you.
Identify your pet -- securely fasten a current identification tag to your pet's collar.
Photograph your pet for I.D. purposes.
Find a pet-friendly hotel.
Transport your pet safely.
Q: What should I do if my television and radio go out?
A: Official information will be posted at public facilities such as churches, schools and community centers.
Q: What should I do with my lawn furniture?
A: Bring your lawn furniture, garden tools and toys inside. They can become airborne during hurricane force winds.
Q: What if my water supply gets contaminated?
A: Boil water if it smells bad.
Q: What should I do with my food supply if my power goes out?
A: First, use the perishable foods from the refrigerator and then from the freezer. Use nonperishable foods and staples last.
Q: What if there are dangling power lines around my house?
A: Report dangling power lines immediately to the proper authorities. Do not attempt to remove them by yourself.
Q: What if a traffic light goes out?
A: Treat it as a four-way intersection.
Q: If newspaper racks are moved because of the storm, where can I get a copy of The Augusta Chronicle?
A: Newspapers will still be in stores that sell The Chronicle, and some racks will be moved inside.