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Westporters Stock Up as Irene Approaches

WESTPORT, Conn. – Flashlights and batteries: These items were on Westport resident Jack DeWitt's shopping list Thursday when he and his son Aidan stopped by Westport Hardware on Post Road East.

But these items were also on dozens of other resident's shopping lists, which is why the store sold out of its full-size flashlights and D batteries. But the DeWitts made do with what the store had left in stock.

"We're getting two flashlights in case the power goes out," Aidan said as he showed off the LED combination glow stick flashlights/flashers/whistles he picked out. "One's for me and one's for my sister."

Although the store didn't have any D batteries — often used in radios and flashlights — DeWitt found something else that might come in handy during the impending storm: candles.

"I don't know if they'll be of much use, but I have a feeling I should get some," DeWitt said of the candles. "I'm just trying to get everything we might need, now."

Other than flashlights and batteries, Dave Miles, a Westport Hardware employee, said other emergency items people were stocking up on included radios, small electric lanterns, propane, cooking stoves and coolers. Tarps and duct tape were also popular, Miles said. Although not big sellers, landline phones that plug directly into the wall and hurricane oil lamps are also for sale, he said.

Anticipating a surge of customers in the next two days, Miles said the store put in extra orders for flashlights and batteries. However, he said these items will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Resident Wendy Garrison, who was looking for flashlights and left the store empty-handed, said she plans to hit the stores early Friday so she can get the rest of what she needs.

"I've already gone food shopping because I know Stop & Shop is going to be out of control the closer it gets to the storm," Garrison said. "It's like Christmas shopping — people get carried away and it'll only get worse. So my advice to others is get out early [Friday]."

What are you doing to prepare for Hurricane Irene? Did you already buy emergency items like flashlights and batteries?

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