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When Temperatures Dip, Will You Be Ready?

This year’s El Nino is already forecasted to be one of the strongest on record. In fact, experts believe this season’s winter precipitation will rank among the highest since 1981 for much of the country.  More precipitation means more uncertainty and an ever-increasing need to take proactive steps to keep your family safe and warm. To help you get started, here’s a range of winter weather preparedness tips.

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7 Tips to Prepare for Winter Storms

When storms dominate the forecast, there are a few simple steps every family should take. Stocking up on non-perishables and minimizing outdoor travel seem like no-brainers, but beyond finding a matched set of mittens, many families forget some of the other simple steps required to keep safe and warm.

  1. Run the water regularly - Your plumbing system is critical during a winter storm and frozen pipes can lead to expensive home repairs. Opening the faucet, even just a drip, provides relief from the excessive pressure that comes with ice blockage and can prevent a burst pipe.
  2. Don’t forget about the pooch - Non-perishable food items and extra water (a gallon per day per person) for people should be automatic when preparing for an upcoming storm, but don't forget about those furry friends. Have extra pet food and meds on hand.
  3. Take a good look at your windows – Especially on windy days, check for air leaks and make upgrades if necessary. This can be as simple as insulating with plastic for extra heat protection, or installing storm windows for an extra layer of home protection.
  4. Install a backup generator - When the power goes out, an automatic backup generator makes sure the lights and heat stay on. It immediately turns on when your power goes out and maintains a sense of normalcy when all else fails.
  5. Reverse your ceiling fan – Not just for summer anymore, reversing the direction of your ceiling fan pushes warm air downward. If your fan turns clockwise, you'll stay more comfortable during cold winter months.
  6. Winterize your sprinkler system - At the end of the fall, winterize your sprinkler system by turning off the water supply and ridding the pipes of excess water by blowing compressed air through the sprinkler lines.
  7. Insulate the attic – Reduce the risk for ice dams, which occur when snow on your roof melts and then freezes near the roof’s edge, by reducing the amount of heat escaping from your roof. The best way to eliminate the risk is to make sure your roof and insulation are in good shape.

It’s not just how you choose to prepare – it’s when you choose to prepare. The best time to prepare is now and having a plan to follow will ensure your family remains safe and your home remains stable.

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Essentials for an Emergency Preparedness Kit

You can't predict when a storm will hit, but you can prepare for it. That's why FEMA and the Red Cross recommend every family have an emergency preparedness kit in their home. The kit should include:

  • Food (enough for 72 hours)
  • Cash
  • Water (enough for 72 hours)
  • Change of clothes
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Medications
  • Generator

Automatic home backup generators automatically turn on when the power goes out, and remain on until power returns. Generators help in dangerous weather-related situations by:

  • Keeping lights on so residents can see dangerous debris
  • Keeping furnaces running so residents can stay warm
  • Keeping refrigerators running so food and medication aren't spoiled
  • Keeping the Internet connection on so residents can stay connected, work from home, and monitor the storm
  • Keeping sump pumps working to reduce basement flooding

In addition to making an emergency preparedness kit and installing a home backup generator, there are other ways to prepare for storm season:

  • Make copies of personal documents and papers in case originals are damaged
  • Find out where to take pets in case of an evacuation
  • Purchase extra batteries for weather radios
  • Ensure camera is charged to take pictures of damage for insurance purposes
  • Write down family and emergency contact information and give to loved ones

Generac Power Systems manufactures the most reliable home backup generators on the market, giving homeowners the safety and reliability needed to get through the storm. So while you can't predict the storm, you can prepare to get through it safely.

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  • 11/27/2015 1:02 PM EST