Weatherproof your home
- Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Make sure your gutters are clean in the fall to prevent ice dams in the winter.
- Install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.
Before a storm
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first-aid supplies and medications.
- Have a water supply and non-perishable food on hand.
- Make sure your cellphone is fully charged before a storm or that you have alternative methods for charging your phone.
- Have warm clothing, blankets, and an alternative heat source ready.
- Know where the manual release lever on your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
- If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, remember to include backup power in your plan.
During an outage
- Use flashlights for emergency lighting. Candles with open flames can cause fires.
- Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door. Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).
- Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors to your home and valuable equipment.
- Dress for the season, wearing several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. If you are going outside, the outer garments should be tightly.
Operate generators safely
- Never run a generator in an enclosed space such as the basement or garage. Always place a generator at least 20 feet from the house.
- Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector.
- Stock up on extra gasoline and store it properly.
- Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This can cause “back feeding” along power lines, and it puts utility workers, neighbors, and you at risk of electrocution.
- To prevent any “back feeding” from occurring, a transfer safety switch should be installed by a professional.