Be Prepared During Storm Season

Thursday, April 30th 2009, 2:06 pm
By: News 9

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

For Oklahomans, dealing with severe storms is a pretty regular occurrence. And some of us aren't always prepared when our electricity goes out, but there are some great electronics available that can keep you informed and out of the dark.

This week's storms brought a complete power outage at my home for several hours, but we were ready. Here are some things you should have and have ready to use. First, you should have flashlights of several varieties. A lantern-type flashlight would be useful for wide area illumination. I prefer a fluorescent type over the LED kind. While LEDs are the current buzz they cost more and don't have the same light output. Have a good quality handheld light.

Some lights even have a built-in radio and you need to have a radio. NEWS 9 can be heard on several radio stations during severe weather. If you're going to have a small TV remember it has to have digital tuner after June 12. I also recommend emergency lights that stay plugged in the wall and automatically come on when the power goes out. Those lights are great for late night problems so you don't trip in the dark.

Keep a supply of various size alkaline batteries in your home. Most alkaline batteries these days have a 7 to 10 year shelf life so you don't have to worry about storing them for use in the future.

A nice thing to also own is a portable power supply. Some also have a lantern, a 12-volt output like the power jack in your car, a 110-volt output to power small electric items and even an air pump to inflate a low tire.

Lastly, use surge protectors on your electronic products. They won't stop damage from a direct lightning strike but they do a good job protecting from power fluctuations - which occur even when there isn't bad weather.

For your computer I recommend using an uninterruptable power supply. Some UPS devices protect your computer when power goes on and off and they give you time to shut down the computer in case of a prolonged outage. When the power does go out, unplug your electronic products; TVs, computers, VCRs, DVD players, etc. When the power comes back on it often does with a high voltage jolt which can damage sensitive electronic components.

The storms are here, be prepared.