17 things you should never do at home during severe weather
When severe weather strikes, don’t make these dangerous mistakes. Our expert tips will keep you safe at home when you need it most!
A generator is the best thing to have in a blackout. But it can make you blackout (or die). Hurricane Katrina led to more than 50 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Like any internal combustion engine, a generator engine exhausts carbon monoxide gas, which can give you a headache, knock you out, or even kill you. This is easy to avoid, though: Don’t run a generator in your garage or porch, and keep it at least 3 metres from your house.
Avoid using candles. If a fire starts, there may be no phone service, the fire department may not be able to get to you, and fire hydrants may not be working. Torches produce more light and won’t burn your house down.
Your home is probably the safest place to be in an electrical storm. But here’s a safety tip you may not know. Lightning can still get to you through the conductive paths in your house; that means your wiring, your plumbing, and water. Talking on a corded phone, taking a shower or bath, working on your desktop computer, or handling power tools during an electrical storm isn’t much safer than standing outside. It’s best to stay away from all water and appliances until the storm passes.
Tornadoes are rare, but they do happen. If a tornado warning is issued, your evacuation route should be as follows: Leave the room you’re in and go to either the basement or the innermost room in your home. That’s it – put down the car keys and go hide. If you do find yourself stuck in your car during severe weather, having an emergency kit in your car is smart.
Garage door openers lock up when the power goes off. Make sure everyone in your home knows about the cord that releases the door from the opener. That way, they can lift the door open and get the car out in an emergency.
Whether you’re at home or the office, know where you’re going to go during severe weather. If you don’t have access to an underground shelter, move to the interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Take a few minutes and put together a family survival plan. It’ll help keep your loved ones and your home safe. Keep in mind these everyday fixes to survive everything.
If you’re wet, barefoot, or standing in water, don’t use anything electric or try to plug-in power cords.
Read about 11 DIYers who thought they were electricians until they failed.
Keep the fridge closed. The less you open fridge and freezer doors, the longer your food will stay cold if the power goes out. Every family should have a Storm Readiness Kit.
The time to board up your windows is on a calm, sunny day before a storm arrives. If you wait until a tropical system starts bringing wind and rain to the area, you’re endangering yourself. Large boards could be blown out of your hands, becoming a dangerous projectile. Listen to the forecast and make a decision several days in advance whether you’re going to board the windows or not.
Charcoal barbecues emit deadly carbon monoxide if you run them inside. Don’t allow yourself to make a fatal mistake. Keep your generators and grills outside, even if it’s uncomfortably cold and would be far more convenient if they were indoors.
We all know that windows are dangerous during storms, but what do most people do when they hear a severe weather warning? They run right to the window to see what they can see. In high winds, windows can easily brake sending glass and other debris inside!
Unplugging your appliances will prevent any potential damage from a power surge once power restores. Although, some experts say to always keep one lamp plugged in during a power outage.
When your favourite TV or radio show are interrupted because of severe weather updates, don’t just turn your device off, pay attention to the weather forecast. This will help you make an educated decision for your own safety.
Some people open their windows during a storm because they believe that the pressure will equalise and the windows won’t shatter. This is a myth! According to experts, opening the windows will only allow the strong winds into the house. The bottom line is – don’t open your windows. It’s a waste of time!
Don’t take chances. Power outages mean packed emergency rooms and delayed ambulance service; it’s a bad time to get injured.
The chemicals used in concrete – not to mention oil spills on a garage floor – can leach nasty chemicals into your water supply, giving it a bad taste or making it unsafe to drink. Store your plastic containers on cardboard or a wooden pallet.
If your home has been inundated over electrical wiring, power outlets, electric hot water systems or other electrical installations (including switchboards), organise a licensed electrical contractor to check the premises as soon as flooding or water has abated. Do not touch them and do not attempt to unplug them or test them in any way. All electrical appliances affected by water should be inspected by a qualified electrician before use. No matter whether the water on an appliance came from a flood, or through general storm damage, never turn on the power to an appliance until it has been checked first.
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