Doh: Five things not to do when Irene hits

    Severe weather warnings and evacuation notices have been going out for days, but in every emergency there are those who ignore them.  We asked emergency officials for the top five things people are likely to do this weekend that they really shouldn’t.

    1) Don’t try to drive through standing water

    “Unfortunately there are individuals that believe that they can get through those pools of standing water, and they do get stuck,” said Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management’s Liam O’Keefe. “Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger vehicles causing loss of control and possible stalling… if an individual sees standing water and does not see the cement underneath, they should not try to pass through that water.” O’Keefe said.  A foot of water will float many vehicles, and two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUV’s and pick-up trucks. O’Keefe said it is better to turn around and take a detour than risk getting stuck and putting yourself and first-responders in danger.

    2) Don’t ignore advice to evacuate

    “Decisions about evacuations are not taken lightly, and when we ask people to evacuate there’s a good reason for it,” said Mary Goepfert, with New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

    3) Don’t forget important items when evacuating

    “Make sure that you have your medications with you, and also some clothes and supplies,” Goepfert said. Toys and diapers for children will make extended periods away from home more comfortable. Keep in mind you may be away from home for a few days and prepare accordingly.

    4) Don’t drive around barricades to get to closed roads

    Drivers may end up on flooded roads, or in areas meant to be evacuated.  Roads on the shore will be closed down this weekend, and emergency officials will be directing drivers on detour routes.

    5) Don’t head down the shore after being warned not to

    “People that are full-time residents of the shore are pretty savvy about what the weather can and cannot do,” Goepfert said, but shore visitors may ignore severe weather warnings and head to the beach for planned vacations anyway. She said everyone should follow the advice of emergency officials and keep an eye out for their neighbors.

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