Weather emergencies: How to protect your family

Feature Article- Thu., Jun. 2, 2011
- Contributed Photo

Summer weather means storm season, and summer storms can pack a powerful punch. Atmospheric changes can spawn severe thunder and lightning storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and other extreme weather – often without warning.

June is the official start of hurricane season. Even if you don’t live in a zone at risk for hurricane damage, you should prepare for severe summer storms. Here are three steps to help you protect your home and family from extreme weather this summer:

Step one: Have a plan

An emergency preparedness plan will help everyone in your family know what to do if a severe storm strikes your home and community. Your plan should detail the safest place in your home to ride out a storm, and multiple evacuation routes if staying home would be unsafe. It should also include a meeting place outside the home in case family members are not all together when a storm strikes. Everyone should know the address and phone number of this emergency location.

Store a copy of your emergency plan in a safe place along with copies of important paperwork, like insurance documents, financial information, etc., so that you can easily access them if you have to evacuate.

Step two: Create a storm kit

Pack a backpack, or plastic bucket with a lid, full of nonperishable food and bottled water, a weather radio, flash light with extra batteries, a first aid kit, cash and important documents. Store the kit in a safe, easily accessible place and make sure everyone in the family knows the importance of taking the kit along in case of evacuation – but only retrieve it if it’s safe to do so. You can find more information on building a storm kit at

Step three: Protect your power supply

Power outages often follow on the heels of a storm, and every year millions of homes without residential backup power are left without power for days – and sometimes weeks. A permanent standby generator can ensure your home has power in the event of a significant, extended power failure. Generators are not just for people in remote areas, either. Anyone with young children or older folks at home, and even home businesses, will benefit from the security of a generator.

A standby generator, like those from Kohler, is permanently installed outside the home, much like an air conditioning unit. It runs on propane or natural gas and connects to existing gas lines. You can incorporate one into your home whether you have an existing house or are building a new one. When the power goes off, the generator automatically turns on, usually within 10 seconds of a power loss. You can use it to power critical appliances and systems in your home, such as lights, furnace, air conditioners, refrigerators, sump pumps and a home security system.

Generators range in output from 8 to 125 kilowatts. If you only need to power a few key appliances, an 8- to 17-kilowatt generator should meet your needs. If you need to keep your whole house powered, a larger generator is required. A generator dealer or licensed electrical contractor familiar with standby generators can help you determine the right size for your needs.


Courtesy of ARA Content.


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