Make sure fam­ily, home, car are pre­pared for se­vere weather

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - HOMES ARKANSAS - — Cour­tesy of Brand­point

No mat­ter where you live, the weather can be un­pre­dictable any time of year.

Storms can dis­rupt your fam­ily’s rou­tine, but a lit­tle prepa­ra­tion can mean re­duc­ing the stress that un­ex­pected weather events can cause.

You may not be able to con­trol the weather, but you can con­trol how you pre­pare for and re­spond to in­clement con­di­tions. Pre­par­ing for storms or other weather con­di­tions just takes a few prac­ti­cal, proac­tive steps that can save you time and money and give you peace of mind.

Mak­ing sure your fam­ily, your ve­hi­cle and your home are ready for what­ever the weather brings is worth the in­vest­ment.

PREP YOUR FAM­ILY Make sure each fam­ily mem­ber is equipped with ev­ery­one’s phone num­bers — on pa­per, not just on phones, in case bat­ter­ies go dead or ser­vice is in­ac­ces­si­ble.

Cre­ate a prac­ti­cal plan for what to do if school buses are de­layed or can­celed, or if Mom and Dad can’t get home from work on time.

Des­ig­nate safe places for ev­ery­one to go or meet in the neigh­bor­hood dur­ing a weather emer­gency.

Make sure older chil­dren who may be home alone know where to find emer­gency sup­plies, such as flash­lights, if the power goes out be­fore par­ents can get home, so the chil­dren feel con­fi­dent about han­dling any un­ex­pected sit­u­a­tion.

PREP YOUR CAR

In­vest in the best tires you can af­ford, and en­sure that they’re in tip-top con­di­tion to pro­tect you and your fam­ily dur­ing icy or snowy weather.

Check your tire pres­sure to make sure it is at the op­ti­mal level rec­om­mended by your ve­hi­cle’s man­u­fac­turer, since tire pres­sure can de­crease around 1 PSI per ev­ery 10 de­grees the tem­per­a­ture goes down.

Make sure you have a good spare tire with the cor­rect tire pres­sure.

Keep your ve­hi­cle gassed up when tem­per­a­tures are colder to pre­vent gas-line freez­ing, and make sure you’re caught up on main­te­nance, such as oil changes, safety in­spec­tions and man­u­fac­turer re­calls.

Make room in your trunk for emer­gency sup­plies, such as jumper ca­bles, a first-aid kit, blan­kets and a safety flare, in case you are stuck in your car for any length of time.

PREP YOUR HOME Pre­pare for any weather con­di­tions by as­sem­bling an eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble emer­gency box, com­plete with flash­lights and spare bat­ter­ies, bot­tled wa­ter and non­per­ish­able food, plus a first-aid kit.

Next, be pre­pared for power out­ages as a re­sult of weather events by in­vest­ing in a home gen­er­a­tor, if pos­si­ble.

Au­to­matic standby gen­er­a­tors from Kohler are per­ma­nently in­stalled out­side a home, sim­i­lar to a cen­tral air-con­di­tion­ing unit. The gen­er­a­tors con­nect to a home’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem and run on nat­u­ral gas or propane.

When power is lost, au­to­matic standby gen­er­a­tors turn on within 10 sec­onds, even when no­body is home, and units can be re­motely mon­i­tored from a smart­phone or lap­top.

Larger gen­er­a­tors can power ev­ery­thing from lights and HVAC sys­tems to sump pumps and home-se­cu­rity sys­tems. Smaller units can power a few key cir­cuits. Hav­ing a gen­er­a­tor can pre­vent a host of in­con­ve­niences, from food spoilage and lost com­mu­ni­ca­tions to loss of heat and light­ing.

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