Updated on Thu, 01/18/18

As Frankenstorm Heads for Bensalem, Follow these Helpful Tips to Stay Safe

With “Frankenstorm”, Hurricane Sandy rapidly heading for Bensalem, Hillis Adjustment Agency of Bensalem is sharing some helpful tips to keep us all safe. Be sure to keep an eye on the storm and stay up to date with storm news over the coming days. The following are Basic Hurricane Tips and Supplies for homeowners (all should be stocked with enough to last at least 3 days)

-Flashlights
-Batteries (enough to power necessary appliances)
-First aid kit
-Bottled Water for everyone in your household (enough for at least 5 days to use for personal hygiene, cooking, drinking, pets)
-Medications – fill them early.
-Food: Purchase early. Canned or dry cereals, etc. that won’t spoil if electricity goes out along with a Manual Can Opener.
-Charcoal, lighter fluid, matches/lighter and BBQ grill (or propane gas grill with plenty of propane) for cooking and some candles for light.
-Liquid Bleach for treating water to make it potable. Fill your bathtub with water and put a few capfuls of bleach to treat germs. Use this for washing, flushing toilets but don’t drink unless emergency. The recommendation is 1/2 capfuls of bleach per gallon of water. Note: You can boil water at least five minutes or more to kill bacteria.
-Cell phone (charge beforehand and buy a charger for your car in case of extended power outage). Note that if cell towers are down after the storm – your cell phone may be useless.
-Cash: Take out cash in case banks are closed and ATM’s down
-Fuel: fill up early
-Documents (insurance policies, birth certificates, banking and credit card information, medical records, photos, and keepsakes in watertight containers/bags.)
Take photographs/video of the interior and exterior of your house and of any valuable items (e.g., antiques, heirlooms, collectibles) in case anything gets damaged/destroyed.
-Infants: ensure you have sufficient diapers, formula, and
other supplies as appropriate
-Reinforce your windows if expecting a storm with high winds. Use strips of tape across the panes in case the window blows in. Ideally, putting plywood or closing the shutters on your windows from the outside is the best route to take.
-Secure the Grounds: Remove items in your yard/outside that may become airborne in strong winds (trash cans, hoses, chairs, potted plants) and store them in a shed/garage or secure
them in some other fashion.

10 Safety Tips for Power Outages:

Develop a Weather Emergency Plan. The plan should include a list of important phone numbers in case you need to quickly evacuate your home (i.e. doctors, family members, etc.). The plan should also include an evacuation route, as well as an established meeting place in case you lose communication with loved ones.

Create a Storm Bucket. Get a backpack or purchase a large plastic bucket with a lid from a local hardware store or home center. Stuff the backpack or bucket with three days’ worth of food and water. Other items should include a flashlight, battery powered/hand-cranked radio, first aid kit, money, medications and a CD or USB drive containing important documents. Store the kit in a place that is easily accessible in an emergency situation. For more tips on how to prepare for weather-related emergencies, visit the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). http://www.flash.org/

Turn off major appliances. Shut off your water heater, stove and air conditioning unit. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads to the system when power is restored.

Leave a light on. It sounds simple, but leave at least one light on in your home so you can see when power is restored.
Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all down wires and anything touching them as though they have electricity running through it.

Do not connect portable generators directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backward into the power lines and endanger lives. Plug appliances directly into the portable generator, or hire a qualified electrician to connect the portable generator to your electrical system.

If you’re running a portable generator, be sure to use properly rated extension cords (electrical load and length). Also, make sure the portable generator is properly vented to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not place a portable generator in your home or an enclosed space with limited ventilation like a garage or a screened porch.

Familiarize yourself with your main electrical panel. You may have to turn off the main breaker or have to reset circuit breakers after a power outage.

Inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call your local utility provider.
Consider installing a commercial-grade, standby generator. A standby generator is permanently installed outside the home similar to a central air conditioning unit. It runs on natural gas or propane and hooks up to existing gas lines. Standby generators turn on automatically when the power shuts off. A transfer switch constantly monitors utility power and transfers the electrical load to the generator if power is lost, protecting the home even if the home owner is away. A standby generator can power critical and sophisticated appliances and systems in a home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators, sump pumps, home security systems and more.

To determine if a standby generator is right for you, be sure to do your homework and look for a unit that offers some of the following:

-A commercial-grade engine that provides clean, consistent power, handles heavy loads and powers up quickly.
-Make sure to purchase a standby generator with a minimum five-year warranty.
-Don’t forget about appearance. A standby generator sits outside your home, so look for a unit with a bold, clean look that is corrosion resistant.
-Some units have remote monitoring/operating capabilities. This is important for those who spend time away from home.