How you and your family can be ready for any emergency
If you keep up with the news, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by stories about natural disasters and climate events disrupting people's lives. Natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, floods and severe winter storms have caused significant damage and displacement to homeowners across the country this past year. And according to The Economist, blackouts and brownouts are increasing, not just due to climate catastrophes, but because around 70% of large power transformers and transmission lines in the U.S. are at least 25 years old.
All of this is enough to keep you up at night. But instead of worrying, you can take simple steps to ensure your family is ready for anything. Here are some things you can do to help prepare for any emergency.
Get a backup source of power
Losing power is more than just a minor inconvenience, especially if it takes days, weeks or longer to restore. From lights and electronics to your HVAC system and refrigerator, you need power to keep your home comfortable and safe. Knowing your home has an independent source of power can give you and your family enormous peace of mind.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your family from a power outage, including using portable generators that run on gasoline, or by having a standby generator that connects to your home and runs on natural gas or propane.
If your home uses solar power, you can even store solar energy to use when needed in an emergency. With a modular backup system, such as Kohler Power Reserve, you can store and access energy produced by your home's solar systems. It stores solar energy during the day, reserving that energy for use whenever it's needed - for example during a power outage - just like an energy bank account where you can make deposits and withdrawals as needed. It can keep your home running throughout an outage, providing needed independence from the power grid. Even better, the Kohler Power Reserve is compatible with any solar panel installation.
No solar panels? No problem. The system also offers a way to store energy from the grid during times of lower rates, and then relies on batteries for power during peak rate periods.
Create an emergency kit
If a weather event or other disaster requires that you hunker down in your home for a while, it pays to prepare with a water-proof container filled with things you will need. According to Ready.gov, it's best to prep your emergency kit with things like:
* One gallon of water per person for several days
* Non-perishable food for 3 days, such as protein bars, nuts and dried fruit
* Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
* First aid kit
* Cell phone charger and backup battery
* Sleeping bag/warm blankets
* Masks, sanitizer and sanitary wipes
* Items unique to your family such as prescription medications, diapers, etc.
You can also create a similar, smaller emergency kit to keep in your vehicle.
Pack a go bag
Even if you don't live in a flood, hurricane or wildfire-prone region, there are many reasons you could need to evacuate your home one day, such as nearby gas leaks or train derailments. To ensure your family evacuates safely, fill a "go bag" for every member of the family and store where you can easily grab them - like a closet near your front door or garage.
What goes in your go bag? It's similar to your emergency kit, but needs to be portable and is meant for only short periods. Crucial items may include:
* Waterproof bag with important documents like your passport
* Phone charger
* Good quality masks (important not just for COVID-19 protection, but in case of fire or chemical spill)
* Emergency cash
* List of family phone numbers in case your phone battery dies
* Flashlight and batteries
* First aid kit
* Water bottles and snacks
* Personal items you need, like medications, etc.
* A loud whistle to call attention to first responders
Taking these three steps to prepare your home and your family means you'll be ready and can stay safe during a variety of possible weather emergencies or power outages, giving everyone in your household peace of mind.
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