Hurricane Season !!!
With the impending arrival of “Dorian” I thought I would write a brief article on Hurricane safety and awareness.
I am currently in Sneads Ferry, NC where I reside. We are awaiting the storm of Dorian and expect a brushing by him or a landfall by Thursday night or Friday early am. This is my first hurricane that I will experience living through. Hurricane Florence hit Topsail Island and the surrounding area last year in September and did some devastating destruction. I spoke with my neighbors and many that sat through Florence. Where I am situated it is pretty good! So, for now I am sitting this one out. If the current predictions stick, Dorian should stay off the coast about 50 – 90 miles away and we should experience mostly high winds and lots of rain.
Here are some things I took into consideration and prepared for.
- Purchased 4 cases of water. It never goes to waste.
- Purchased a 6500 W generator, gas fueled along with a pack of batteries, two flashlights, two electrical strip bars w/ fuse, two 100-foot-long extension cords, and three 2-gallon plastic gas containers.
- Relocated all the moveable, loose, non-permanent items in my back and front yard to the garage.
- Secured my trash receptacles to my split rail fence.
- Topped off both gas tanks on my trucks.
- Positioned everything in my garage as to what is priority near the door; generator, gas containers, etc.
- Prepositioned my extension cords through out the house along with power strips secured to the floor with duct tape. Took inventory of the food in my freezer so I know exactly what I have so I am not digging in there if the power goes out. (If you have a generator, you may not have to do this.)
- I have a power strip just for electronics, phones, computers, TV, etc.
- A small first aid kit
- It’s a good time to check on items such as rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, etc.
As for venturing out after the storm has passed, I would wait to get the all clear. This includes areas of low-lying water, downed power lines, accidents that have occurred due to motorists, flooded areas that are impassable. It’s just better to wait until all these areas are clear so you don’t get into a bad situation.
Power loss: If you do lose power for an extended period, you may want to go to your electrical fuse box and flip each circuit breaker to off. This is good practice for when the power is restored if there are any surges due to the high number of homes in your area, and the immediate surge for customers, you will not damage any electrical items.
*** In 2012, while I was posted in Plano, Texas, we had bad storms one day. This particular storm kept sending surges which kept shutting down my air conditioning unit and all other electrical item in the house. The result was the surge damaged the compressor of the A/C unit. I had to purchase a new air conditioning system……..just before moving three months later!!! It can never hurt to flip breakers off when electrical storms are in the area.
Just an FYI, refrigerators have about 3-5 hours of cooling if they are not opened. Freezers have a 48-hour duration on keeping items cold if the door is not opened.
Generators: If operating a generator, position the generator away from the house. Do not store in garage or under a porch. The generators are good to sit in rain and snow. Stretch your extension cords clear of all items. Do not run them over things such as patio furniture, shrubs, banisters, railings. Have them on the ground. Preferably have cords in one door or window and make sure it is clear of anything in those areas. I use cords with 16-gauge wire. The gauge of the wire determines the thickness of the copper in the sheathing of the cord. The thickness is important due to the heat that the copper must endure when using it for appliances. A 16-gauge wire is approximately 1.291 mm thick. A 10-Gauge wire is approximately 2.588 mm thick. What this means is the thicker the wire the more heat it can withstand. As your amperage or voltage increases, your heat increases, and the draw is usually greater on the voltage source. which in turn causes more heat. Therefore, you should have heavy gauged cords. A good rule of thumb is always use an extension cord the same thickness as the unit cord. This will ensure good conductivity and low heat.
Fuel for generators should be kept close to the generator and covered if possible. It is not good practice to store in your home. If your generator has been sitting for months without use, you may want to get fuel stabilizer due to moisture and the 10% ethanol. The ethanol degrades the octane over time.
I leave you with this last suggestion. If in doubt use good common sense when deciding what to do when the storm hits. Your gut instincts are usually the best. Notify your family where you are, make sure they have cell phone numbers, call at least every 6 hours if you are in the zone of the funnel of the hurricane.
Until next time, be safe and smart and be aware! Have a safe summer, to what’s left of it!!