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Darien Officials Stress Hurricane Preparedness

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien is gearing up for Hurricane Irene to hit this weekend, and officials are warning residents to be prepared.

"Hurricane Irene is approaching Connecticut rapidly, and in a coastline community, it's better to be prepared and safe than sorry," said state Sen. Carlo Leone . "Some say this could be the worst hurricane our state has seen since Hurricane Gloria in 1985. That's worse than many people may have seen in their lifetimes, so I urge everyone to take this storm very seriously."

Darien's Office of Emergency Management released tips for being prepared to weather the storm.

• Have one flashlight handy per household member and buy extra batteries. Keep a battery-operated radio on hand.

• Buy an inexpensive phone that you can plug directly into the phone jack in the wall. Buy a cell phone charger for your car.

• Keep important telephone numbers in a handy place, such as the front of your refrigerator and in your "Stay Kit."

• If you use oxygen, have extra portable tanks. Anticipate your needs.

• Keep a supply of food and drinks on hand that don't need refrigeration. Keep a supply of extra water on hand, three gallons per person, per day.

• Keep a manual can opener on hand.

• Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. When the electricity comes back on, make sure to check food closely.

• Unplug sensitive electrical devices, such as computers.

• Check all medications. Always have at least a week's worth on hand.

• Fill your car's gas tank.

• Have extra cash on hand. ATMs work on electricity.

• Put away any outdoor furniture or plants that might blow around.

• If you are uncomfortable staying alone during severe weather or a blackout, make arrangements to stay with family or friends before the storm hits.

• Have a "Go Bag" ready with a change of clothes and personal necessities, in case you are advised to leave your home.

• Sign up for the two alert systems in town: Code Red and Nixle. Go to www.darienct.gov to sign up online.

The Army Corps of Engineers has released a map detailing which areas of town may be hit most by flooding. The most susceptible areas in a Category 1 storm such as Irene include roads off Nearwater Lane near Weed Beach, and areas of town off Scott's Cove such as Tokeneke and Contentment Island Road.

Emergency shelters will be set up in six locations should they be necessary: the Darien Fire Department, Darien High School, Middlesex Middle School, Noroton Fire Department, Noroton Heights Fire Department, Post 53 Headquarters and Town Hall.

Leone also warned residents that there are laws protecting against price gauging in an emergency. If you think that stores are taking advantage of the emergency and charging unreasonable rates, call the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649.

How are you preparing for Hurricane Irene? Tell us in the comments below, on Facebook and on Twitter .

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