The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) offers this advice to make your home safer for future storms:
- Be ready for a fire. Home fires often happen during severe weather, making a bad situation worse. Make sure you have working smoke alarms. If you do have a fire , the alarms will sound, letting you know to escape.
- Have smoke alarms on every level of your home. Put them in each bedroom and outside every sleeping area. Make sure everyone in your home knows that if the alarm sounds, they must get outside.
- Keep smoke alarms working. Test them once month. Replace all smoke alarms after 10 years. Interconnected smoke alarms work together: if one sounds, they all do, helping you hear the alarm wherever you are.
- Brace for power outages. When the lights go out, you need to be prepared with safe alternatives. Candles are too dangerous for lighting. Instead, keep flashlights and batteries on hand. Put a working flashlight near each bed. If you use wick candles, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Blow them out if you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Use a portable generator safely. Many people use a portable generator for back-up power during a storm. If you have a generator, you need a working carbon monoxide (CO) detector to protect your home. The exhaust from the generator has high levels of CO, which is poisonous. You can’t see it or smell it, but it can make you very sick. Breathing too much CO is deadly. Follow the directions in the generator’s manual. The generator must be used outside only. Place the generator several feet from doors, windows, and vents. Never run it in the garage. Also put the generator on dry ground. Coming in contact with water can cause electrocution. Connect the generator with a heavy-duty extension cord designed for outside use. Add fuel to the generator before using and turn it off before refueling. Never smoke while fueling the generator.