For all the things that humans can control on planet Earth, we are still at the mercy of climate and weather. We can’t stop a storm. We can’t change its trajectory. All we can do is prepare.
Storms and natural disasters occur with increasing frequency and severity so, now, more than ever, it’s critical to be prepared. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure that you and your family are ready the next time a tornado, blizzard, hurricane or severe thunderstorm strikes:
1. Own a generator in case the power goes out. A portable generator will allow you to operate sump pumps, heaters and critical appliances to keep your family and property safe. The Cat® RP Series emergency portable generators are great for backup power and come in a variety of sizes, depending on your needs.
2. Store your generator properly to ensure it starts up when you need it to: Stale fuel is the number one reason that gas generators won’t start so always drain the fuel for long term storage. For short term storage, use a fuel stabilizer and set a monthly reminder on your phone to start your generator and let it run for a few minutes – this will help prevent gum build up in your carburetor.
3. Maintain emergency supplies – fresh water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable foods, etc. – and check your stockpile regularly to make sure your supply is fresh. FEMA recommends keeping a 2 weeks supply of food and water, including 1 gallon of water for each family member per day. You should also keep a supply of fresh gas for your generator.
4. Have an emergency family plan in place so that family members know where to evacuate and/or reunite in case anyone gets separated. Practice that plan once a year to make sure it’s fresh in your minds in the heat of the moment.
5. Prepare for a Power Outage: unplug appliances (protect against electrical surges), turn off any propane tanks, fill your car and fuel cans (for your generator) with gas and dial up the cold settings on your refrigerator and freezer so they’ll keep food colder, longer if you lose power.
6. Stay up to date on weather forecasts and alerts. Listen to a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio or download the NOAA app for your smartphone to get alerts if you need to take cover.
7. Know the safest place in your home and plan to stay there during the storm. If you have a basement, this will be the safest location. If not, a bathroom (hunker down in the shower or tub) or room in the center of the house, away from any windows is usually the safest option.
8. Keep your shoes and wallet close by. If you have to take cover from a tornado or hurricane, it’s best to have these items with you in case your home is destroyed and you have to crawl out of the debris. DO NOT delay taking cover to search for shoes or other items – better to come out alive and barefoot than get caught in the storm.
9. Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you’re certain it’s not contaminated.
10. If you’re able, let friends and family know that you’re safe. The Facebook “I’m Safe” tool is a good option for major crisis situations.
11. Lastly, if you do own a Cat Portable Generator, be generous with your neighbors and share your power so they can charge their phones, etc. Neighborhoods and communities need to pull together most after crises and natural disasters.