Plan ahead for power outages


(Family Features) Summer storms are often accompanied by damaging hail, high winds, heavy rain and lightning that cause widespread power outages affecting homeowners’ peace of mind, and their pocketbooks. Homeowners can prepare for possible power outages by establishing an emergency plan for their families.

“The coming of storm season often motivates homeowners to start thinking about how to keep the power on and avoid the costs and inconvenience associated with power outages,” said Dan Roche with Briggs & Stratton.

Get ready for the chance of inclement weather ahead with these tools and resources:

First aid. Assemble a basic first aid kit with assorted sterile, compression and adhesive bandages, rolled gauze, adhesive tape, disinfectant, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, scissors and instant cold packs. Add pain relieving medications (including children’s strength, if applicable) and a few days’ worth of any regular medications you take.

Emergency kit. Include items such as a flashlight, battery-powered weather radio, bottled water, non-perishable snacks and personal hygiene items. Don’t forget extra batteries that fit your devices and keep a portable cell phone charger on hand. The compact Rayovac Phone Charger, which is compatible with most USB-powered devices, holds enough power to recharge a mobile phone up to three times (depending on device) and holds its charge up to four months. Find more devices ideal for your emergency kit at rayovac.com.

Comfort items. What constitutes comfort likely varies depending on your family composition, but may include things like stuffed animals, soothing blankets or small toys for little ones and more practical items, including pillows and sleeping bags, for older family members. Remember that a storm may leave you huddled in a confined space or without power for an extended period, so diversions such as travel-size games and cards can help pass the time.

Backup power. Portable generators provide a solution during an emergency power outage to power essential items, such as refrigerators, sump pumps and lights. An option such as Briggs & Stratton’s Storm Responder Portable Generator is equipped with a digital control panel that provides everything owners need to know, including the amount of power being used, total lifetime hours of the generator and maintenance reminders. Ideal for first-time buyers, the Storm Responder features step-by-step start-up, shutdown and storage instructions, as well as a safety guide printed directly on the unit. Be sure you have a transfer switch installed in your home so you are ready to safely restore the power to your home in the event of an outage. To learn more, visit briggsandstratton.com.

While portable generators can provide users with flexibility and comfort, homeowners and renters should only use portable generators outside in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Visit TakeYourGeneratorOutside.com to learn more about portable generator safety.

Information guide. In the aftermath of a storm, having emergency information at your fingertips is one less stress to fight. Compile contact information for family members, friends and close neighbors, along with your insurance agent. Also include any relevant medical contacts or information. Stash your guide along with your emergency and first aid kits so it will be within easy reach if you need it.

Seasonal weather can bring unpredictable dangers to your home and family, but assembling the right materials ahead of time will help ensure your family is well prepared to ride out the storm.

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