Do you know what to do to stay safe during a dangerous storm?

Photo (c) Francis Lavigne Theriault - Getty Images

After a number of severe storms this month, safety should be your top priority

This month kicked off with a number of intense storms in various states across the U.S., which begs an important question for consumers: are you prepared to stay safe during these dangerous storms

Whether your answer is yes, no, or maybe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Red Cross, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have all weighed in to help people prepare for the storm and ensure their safety until it passes. 

Prepare for the storm

Some of the most important work you’ll do is before the storm hits. Does your family have an emergency kit? Do you know where the safest place in your home is? Have you practiced tornado drills? These are all important questions as you prepare for the storm. 

During a tornado, the goal is to find a spot that’s safest during extreme winds. This is often the lowest level of a home in a room that has no windows. In terms of tornado drills, being able to get to the designated area as quickly as possible is key. 

Consumers should also be thinking about stocking their homes in the event of a storm. Water bottles, non-perishable foods, and medications are a good place to start. 

The Red Cross recommends having a “go-kit,” which would have three days of important supplies that you can carry with you, and a “stay-at-home kit,” which would have at least two weeks of supplies. When it comes to medications, the agency recommends keeping a one-month backup supply for emergencies like this. 

The CDC also recommends keeping fresh batteries on hand in case of a power outage, as well as devices that are battery-operated to stay connected to any important weather updates. 

Staying safe if the power goes out

The CPSC offered a number of tips for consumers should the power go out in the middle of a dangerous storm. 

Many people turn to a portable generator when the power goes out, but as helpful as these devices are, they also can come with a number of risks. One of the biggest risks is carbon monoxide poisoning, and the CPSC recommends having a generator that comes with a CO shut-off safety feature, as these will turn off automatically when CO levels become too high. 

Portable generators should also never be used inside the house – this includes carports or porches. Consumers should be at least 20 feet away from their homes when using these devices. 

Similarly, when using portable heaters, charcoal, or candles, safety is key. Portable heaters should never be closer than three feet to anything that could catch fire – curtains, bedspreads, sofas, clothes, etc. These devices should only be used in dry locations – never near water – and should only be plugged into wall outlets – not under carpeting or into power strips. 

Candles and charcoal pose similar threats, and the same warnings apply. Battery-operated candles are a safer option for consumers, while charcoal should never be burned indoors. 

During a dangerous storm, experts recommend that you closely follow the news in your local area for any important updates, and check in with your friends and family as often as possible. 

Take a Home Warranty Quiz. Get matched with an Authorized Partner.