Views: 0 Author: by Cummins Inc., Global Power Technology Leader Publish Time: 2023-09-13 Origin: https://www.cummins.com/news/2023/09/12/hurricane-preparedness-homeowners
Emergency preparedness is an essential part of life for everyone. For homeowners, there’s also the added concern of preparing the place you call “home.” Natural disasters can strike at any time, and depending on where you live, some disasters—like hurricanes—are more frequent than others. And you shouldn’t wait until a bad turn of weather to form a plan. There are some key steps you can take right now to get started. Consider the following: what items do you need to prepare for a storm, and what companies can you look to for quality and reliability?
At Cummins, we’re all about giving homeowners the power they need, when they need it—including during emergencies, thanks to our whole house generators. An important piece of your storm preparedness checklist is having alternative power. Read on for some strategies to consider when a generator is part of your emergency preparedness kit, so you and your family can be ready to weather the storm.
While every situation is different, there are three major things you must do to be ready for a hurricane:
Establish plans for before, during, and after the storm.
Create a hurricane preparedness checklist.
Develop an emergency kit of essential items.
It’s also worth noting that if you have multiple people in your household, everyone must know each piece of your hurricane preparedness strategy. For each of these steps, that includes knowing how to properly operate your generator. While a generator is one of the essential items needed for emergency preparedness, so is a plan for using it. If not used properly, a generator can actually be very dangerous, as illustrated by Hurricane Laura in 2020.
NPR reported that the leading cause of death in Hurricane Laura was not the storm itself, but instead misuse of portable generators, often leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. Thankfully, this and other dangers can be easily avoided with a solid plan and a good understanding of proper generator usage. Below you’ll find some tips for proper generator use, so you can keep the lights on and your family safe.
The first step is knowing how much power you will need if your utilities go out. Look around your home and decide on the items that are most important to power, whether that’s lights, appliances, or various devices. From there, add up all the wattage for the devices, which is usually on the manufacturer’s label. This will give you a rough estimate of how much power is required, and thus how big of a generator you’ll want to get. To help you figure this out, Cummins developed a calculator that helps determine an appropriate generator size for your needs.
It’s a good idea to have a regular cadence of testing your generator, so you can be sure it’ll work when it’s needed the most. A great starting point is every 3-4 months, or 3-4 times a year. You should occasionally run your generator to ensure it not only works, but is putting out the expected energy levels. For a whole-house generator, this includes testing it by turning off your utility breaker and letting the generator power the house for at least ten minutes. Schedule yearly maintenance on your standby generator with your local Cummins dealer.
If your generator is portable, this step is incredibly important, as it is usually the cause of death when done incorrectly—especially if the generator is portable. When in doubt, it’s always best to seek help from a professional like Cummins. That said, there are a few general tips you can follow to safely place your generator after a hurricane:
Place the generator outside, at least six feet away from your house. Never place it inside the garage or any part of the house—even if a door or window is open. Absolutely do not risk it!
Point the engine and exhaust away from the house, to prevent inhalation of the fumes.
Many whole-house generators—such as the Quiet Connect™—are standby models, which means they stay in a consistent, safe spot and only power on when needed. They are also grounded, which means there is far less risk of electrocution. With a standby model, you can feel confident that you’ll have power when it counts. Depending on your power needs and situation, this may be an option to consider. Of course, you’ll want to start this process well before a storm occurs; Cummins has a wide range of generator options that suit different needs, and the sooner you get in contact with us, the sooner you can be hurricane-ready.
As your portable generator runs, there are some considerations to keep in mind that promote safe use:
Connect appliances to the generator via an outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated for at least the total wattage of your appliance load.
Never plug the generator directly into a wall socket. This is called backfeeding, and it’s a very dangerous electrocution hazard. Portable generators connect to the house’s power inlet box, which is on the outside of the house.
Never refuel a generator while it is hot and/or running. Before refueling, turn off the generator and allow it to cool completely.
When a hurricane is headed your way, the last thing you should be worried about is where your power will come from. And when you have a Cummins home standby generator, power is the least of your concerns. Cummins is the brand people rely on for reliable, durable power sources when it counts the most. We have a variety of generator options so you can get the right fit for your household.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Take a look at our generators today, and make sure your home is hurricane-ready!