Though Hurricane Irene has slowed slightly as it moves up the Atlantic coastline, it remains a storm with potential to cause significant damage.


Though Hurricane Irene has slowed slightly as it moves up the Atlantic coastline, it remains a storm with potential to cause significant damage.

Despite weather forcasts that the storm is weakening, emergency management officials are urging the public to continue to take this storm very seriously.

Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director Jamie Turner urges everyone to make sure they have adequate emergency supplies whether they are staying home or going to a shelter. Shelters provide meals, but those with special diets or in need of some between meals snacks should stock up now. Those staying home must make sure they have water for the entire household, including pets, for at least three days. At least one gallon per day for each family member is required.   Water for drinking can be drawn up and stored for a few days in clean bottles, kettles, pitchers and stew pots. Water for cleaning and hygiene can be stored in plastic tubs, sinks and even the bath tub. For information on making a household emergency plan and building a supply kit, visit www.prepareDE.org, Ready.gov or Listo.gov for Spanish speakers. For regional weather updates, visit http://weather.gov/phi.   “We want everyone to have food and water for at least three days, four or five days is even better," Turner said. "It is common to lose power in a storm like this, so light sources and means of communications are very important. Make sure you have batteries for lights and radios and a means of charging cell phones.”   Additional things to consider in planning for an emergency include food and medications for those that might have special dietary or pharmaceutical needs and/or appropriate equipment for family members who might use assistive technology. Families also need to remember the needs of pets and to have adequate food and supplies as well as appropriate carriers or restraints should evacuation be required.   Turner said a very important component of each household emergency plan is to have important documents like medical records, deeds or leases, insurance records and birth certificates copied and stored where they can be easily accessed and packed in case of evacuation.