Upstate hardware stores already getting calls about batteries, f - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate hardware stores already getting calls about batteries, flashlights in preparation for Hurricane Irma

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Upstate hardware stores report an uptick in sales for emergency supplies ahead of Hurricane Irma (FOX Carolina) Upstate hardware stores report an uptick in sales for emergency supplies ahead of Hurricane Irma (FOX Carolina)
Hardware stores across the Upstate say supplies are starting to fly off the shelves (FOX Carolina) Hardware stores across the Upstate say supplies are starting to fly off the shelves (FOX Carolina)
(FOX Carolina) -

Upstate hardware store employees are gearing up, they say the phone calls have already begun.

"I'm surprised we are seeing it this early," said Ace Hardware Manager Chris O’Brien.  

Questions have started flooding in, with folks wondering how many items are still in stock.

"We’ve seen a little bit of buzz with people calling about batteries and flashlights," O’Brien said.

It's not just the basics, there is a whole list of items going quickly.

"Gas cans which are really popular right now,” he said. “People who are going to be doing a lot of cutting for wood may need bar oil or chainsaw chains. You've got propane tanks that people use for heat.”

People have even come in the Woodruff Road location asking for tarps, O'Brien said. Some folks are concerned about flooding. He said the crowds are likely just beginning. Luckily local stores are staying stocked and keeping a close eye on Irma’s path.

"If the storm continues to track that it might come up this way then I suspect it will be really busy," O’Brien said.

They aren't the only ones preparing. Local hotels said they are still getting phone calls from Harvey and next they expect lots of evacuees from Florida. It doesn't stop there, the American Red Cross phone lines are staying busy, getting a list of potential shelters.

"We are firming up their availability should the need arise to house evacuees or locals with localized flooding that may happen here," said Red Cross Volunteer Heather Kanipe.

Kanipe is ready to deploy to Florida as early as Saturday, but she said even in the Upstate folks need to stay alert.

"This is an awfully large storm and it is not outside the realm of possibilities that we would have outer bands of rain, winds and possible tornados,” Kanipe said. “All of that could happen in our area."

The Red Cross said the time is now, everyone should update their medication list and have a plan for pets. Kanipe warns, it's best to stock up on supplies sooner rather than later, just to be safe.

"Do be patient and know that the supplies won't necessarily last,” Kanipe said. “So go ahead and get them now. There's no need to panic, so long as you are prepared."

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