NORFOLK Preparing for Hurricane Earl or any emergency means making sure your loved ones, pets and home can safely weather the storm.

While forecasters don't believe Earl will devastate eastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, they do expect high winds and some localized flooding that could create problems.

Emergency management officials say residents should be ready for power outages, downed trees and blocked roads.

To avoid damage to your property, move loose items inside, if you can. Otherwise, tie them down so they can't be tossed by the wind.

Check to make sure you have food that doesn't require refrigeration, water and clean clothing to sustain your family, including pets, for three days.

Because the power could go out, make sure you have a flashlight and good batteries. Many people burn candles during outages, but they should never be left unattended or used if you smell gas in the home.

If you have a pet, make sure it has ID tags. If you normally keep your pet outside, bring it indoors.

Once you have your safety plan in place, make sure their aging loved ones are prepared to weather the storm.

The Center of Aging will help elderly in need and even deliver meals. As a first step, call 757- 461-9481 and an intake specialist will ask about your needs and identify the information or services that can help.

You can be referred to the appropriate senior services department or a partner agency.

Often, there is more than one problem to be solved and the solution to the first problem may affect the others, officials said.

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