Last updated on January 10th, 2019 at 12:15 am
The weather is always unpredictable, and it seems that every day another weather story makes the news. From flooding rains to ice storms to hurricanes that lead to power outages. One of the main reasons of power outages in the United States is the weather. As winter’s freezing temperatures and storms are enough to create hazardous conditions that lead to utility power failures.
Being prepared for winter storms would also have a significant impact on your family and on the house itself. But it’s very helpful to know what to do and how to act up in such situations. There are ways to prepare your home for such situations before it happens and that would prevent potential damage. Here are some useful tips on how you should react in extreme weather circumstances.
Tips to Make Your Home Safe and Ready for Extreme Weather
Prepare for winter storms with a list of useful emergency preparedness tips to help you make your home safe and storm-ready. Easy to follow checklist to limit the effect weather may have on your home and lifestyle:
- Store water, food, medications: Storing food and extra water should be on the top priorities. Keep enough food, water, and medications for 3 days. Don’t forget about your pets too.
- Invest in a generator: If the power goes out, a generator makes sure that the essential appliances stay on. To keep the lights, heating system, and fridges running.
- Keep the water running: During winter storms, plumbing pipes may get frozen which can lead to burst pipes and expensive repairs. Keeping the faucet open, even just dripping, provides relief to the pipes from the excessive pressure due to ice blockage.
- Check the windows and doors: During storms or windy weather, check for air leaks in your windows and doors. This can be done through insulating with plastic which gives extra heat protection or installing special storm windows and doors.
- Secure the roof: The amount of escaping heat from the roof could lead to ice dams, which occur when snow on your roof melts and then freezes. To eliminate the risk make sure your roof is in good shape and well insulated.
- Take away outdoor furniture: Take anything not firmly tied down to a safe indoor place. Such as outdoor furniture, garbage cans, decorations, etc.
- Keep the yard clean: Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed to reduce the risk of high wind damage. The branches may fall on people, house, or car. In addition to keeping the yard clear of seed pods and leaves as they may clog the gutters due to overflow from the storm.
- Don’t stay outdoors: Storm and thunderstorms can be very dangerous, even if they seem miles away. If you hear thunder, then it’s better to stop whatever you are doing in the yard and seek shelter. A lightening can hit long before it starts to rain.
Essentials for an Emergency Preparedness Kit
The weather is always unpredictable, having a plan to follow will ensure your family remains safe and your home remains stable. The best time to prepare is now. You can’t always predict when a storm will hit, but you can prepare for it. That’s why each family should have an emergency preparedness kit ready in their home. The kit should include:
- Non-perishable food – enough for 3 days
- Drinking water – enough for 3 days
- Some cash
- A flashlight and batteries
- First aid kit
- Any extra specific medications
- Some clothes to change between
- Copies of personal documents and papers in case originals get damaged
- Write down emergency contact information
- Find a safe shelter for your pets in case of evacuation
- Purchase a generator to ensure a comfortable stay in your home. To keep the lights, heater, refrigerators, TV, modem, and mobile devices running. In addition to keeping the sump pump running to reduce basement flooding
Investing in backup power is a key component in preparing for emergencies and extreme weather conditions. A generator is the best way to keep critical home appliances and equipment up and running during a power outage. It’s an important step towards controlling and protecting your family and possessions from harm. Don’t forget to also check the ready campaign.
Testing and Preparing the Generator for Emergencies
After you have selected the right generator most suitable for your needs, here are some tips that can help keep the power on through any storm or power outage:
- Generator wattage: Calculate the wattage of the essential appliances that you would need to keep running. To determine and decide which appliances can run according to the wattage of your generator.
- Test the generator: Perform generator testing to make sure that you are familiar with how to operate the generator in any situation.
- Setup and storage: Keep your generator stored in a safe location that you can access easily. Make sure to only run the generator outside, far away from doors and windows.
- Exercise the generator: Run your standby generator from time to time to keep the engine well lubricated and fresh.
- Generator fuel: Keep enough fresh fuel supply and fuel stabilizer.
- Extension cord and transfer switch: Using a transfer switch wired directly into your home’s electrical system is best for powering your indoor appliances. If extension cords are used to permanently power indoor items you increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. As you may risk the engine’s exhaust entering the home through any cord opening, window, or door. Install a home transfer switch by a professional electrician is best, especially if power outages are common. Cords connected to your portable generator are intended to power outdoor items only. Always make sure the cord has enough amps to carry the total load of all connected appliances, to avoid overloading your extension cord from heavy duty overload.
- Cool down: After finishing with testing your generator, allow it to cool down before storing.
- Cover the generator: Always keep your generator covered when not in use. To make sure it’s always free of dirt, dust, and rust.
These tips will help you keep your portable generator working as properly as possible when you need it the most.
Safety Should Always Come First
If you have a portable generator, there are a few safety measures that families need to follow when operating a portable generator. Follow these safety measures when operating your machine:
- Invest in a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.
- Only use your generator outside, never use it indoors or in any enclosed area. Not even in your garage with the door open.
- Keep the generator’s exhaust away from windows, doors, or any air leaks. To avoid the risk of carbon monoxide gas entering your home.
- Always read the user manual carefully before operating, to learn about the operation, safety, and maintenance instructions.
- Never add fuel to your generator when running or when it’s hot.
Power outages are a common phenomena during major storms and hurricanes. And, losing power can lead to no lights, no heat, and spoiled food, not to mention the discomfort and anxiety it can cause your family. A portable generator can take over when the power goes out, keeping important devices and appliances such as your lights, fridge and sump pump running. Not to mention, how a quiet generator would come handy in these situations. With these tips and checklists, you should be prepared for any emergency outage situation.