Summer is a great time! It’s a time of beach and pool fun, bike riding, ice cream strolls, camping, and spending time with family and friends. Unfortunately, along with the great weather and vacation, we also experience dangerous storms and have to deal with the damage they can cause.
Since severe storms are a yearly outcome, it’s smart to make sure to be prepared year in and year out. At Zar Electric, we’ve compiled a list of tips. Keep reading to learn more!
What You Need to Know About Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms & Hurricanes
Hurricanes and storms vary in intensity, size, and trajectory depending on environmental conditions. It’s important you understand the terms forecasters are using in regard to these storms as they approach your area.
Tropical depressions are storms formed by a group of thunderstorms with winds between 23 and 39 mph.
Tropical storms are storms that originate over low pressure systems in the ocean. These storms typically have winds between 39 and 73 mph and represent an intermediate stage between tropical depressions and hurricanes.
Hurricanes are swirling storms of 74 mph winds or more that form over the ocean.
A hurricane’s intensity can vary, and it is divided into the following categories:
- Category 1: 74-94 mph winds
- Category 2: 96-110 mph winds
- Category 3: 111-129 mph winds
- Category 4: 130-156 mph winds
- Category 5: 157 mph winds or higher
Although the extent of the harm varies, all three of these storms can be damaging to people and homes and should be taken very seriously.
Make Sure Your Home Is Safe
It’s crucial that you know how to secure your home and belongings in the event of a storm.
- Cover all your windows with either hurricane shutters or plywood
- If you can, use straps or clips to secure your roof to your home
- Make sure your property is cleared of all dead or week trees, loose branches, and shrubs
- Clear your rain gutters
- Reinforce your garage doors
- Bring anything that isn’t tied down, like furniture, outdoor decorations, garbage cans, and gardening tools, into your garage or home
Dealing with Power Outages
To avoid major issues if you get caught in a power outage due to a hurricane or storm, here’s a list of things you can do to be prepared:
- Get a high-quality surge protector for all of your computer equipment and to protect your valuable devices from harm. If you own a computer, always keep your files backed up in a safe location. To ensure that your computer and other office devices have been properly shut down, make sure you turn them off when they’re not in use.
- You may also want to consider using a generator system for your home to keep your essentials, such as your refrigerator, freezer, outlets, well pumps, and other critical areas in your home up and running.
- If you have a telephone at home or at work that requires electricity, plan to use other forms of communication. This can mean having a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone, or radio on hand.
Beware of Electrical Hazards During a Hurricane!
- Keep away from downed powerlines which could be live and pose an electrocution hazard.
- Always be aware of wet areas or moist wood in your home. Avoid stepping in any puddles. These could be charged by live power sources such as outlets or wires. Water conducts electricity, so stay away!
- If possible, use flashlights and avoid candles. Candles can become fire hazards.
- Familiarize yourself with where your circuit breaker box is, and make sure everyone in the household knows how to shut off all power.
- If you’re in a vehicle that is touching a downed power line, remain in your car unless the car catches fire or the authorities tell you to get out.
- Don’t ever touch a person who has been electrocuted without making sure the person is no longer in contact with the electrical source as you could also get electrocuted.
- Don’t use any electrical appliances that have come into contact with water, especially if they contain motors. Water can get in and damage the motors, rendering the appliances unable to operate.
- Any electrical equipment or appliances, such as switches, receptacles (outlets), light outlets and junction boxes, furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers that have been under water must be replaced. They cannot be safely reused.
- You must replace any wiring that has been damaged or come into contact with water as it is no longer safe to use.
- If you have wet hands or you’re standing on a wet or damp surface, you must never reset or replace any circuit breakers or fuses.
- Take caution with any portable generators. It can be deadly if yours was improperly installed or if you don’t operate it correctly.
- MOST importantly, always be aware of your surroundings.
Damage Prevention & Repair
Aside from all the safety precautions mentioned above, to help prevent damage to your home’s appliances, you may want to look into installing whole house surge protection. Whole house surge protection starts in the panel and will help shield your valuable appliances and devices from damage caused by power surges and lightning strikes. Installing generators and generator transfer switches will also help keep your essentials running as they should.
Whatever you need, Zar Electric wants to help! If your home gets caught in a severe storm or hurricane and suffers electrical damage, remember after one call, we’re “on the job, doin’ the job, gettin’ the job done right!” Our dedicated Wake Forest electricians are here to help you in your time of need with any necessary repairs or installations.