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Storm season brings extra dangers that everyone should be prepared for. Stay informed by checking the weather forecast in your area throughout the day. You won’t have to worry about being caught off-guard should severe weather hit. Knowing what to do and when to do it can keep you and your family safe.

This collection of weather-ready tips will help you be prepared before, during and after the storm.

Emergency Kit Checklist

Build an emergency kit. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car.

  • Cell phone with portable chargers
  • Flashlights and fresh batteries
  • Battery-powered radios or televisions
  • Candles, matches or lighters
  • First-aid kit including sterile bandages and gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes and ointment, instant cold packs, ibuprofen
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Water for drinking and cooking – at least a 3-day supply; 1 gallon per person per day
  • Non-perishable food and a manual can opener – at least a 3 day supply
  • Pet supplies - collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl
  • Emergency tools like a multi-purpose tool, sharp scissors, hammer, screwdriver, etc.
  • Medications – a 7-day supply - and medical items like hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash and an extra set of car keys
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Manufacturers' instructions for your generator, if you have one
  • Instructions for how to manually open your garage door

Power Outage Checklist

Planned or unexpected, a power outage it can last for days or longer and may impact every-day needs like lighting, heating, cooling, communication, food and medicine refrigeration, cooking and medical equipment. Plan now to have what you need and to know how to stay safe.

  • Create a support network. Identify people who can help you stay at home or evacuate during an extended power outage. Keep a paper copy of your contact list.
  • Stay connected and alert. Sign up for the I&M App to receive text alerts and updates on the outage. Have communication devices that work without home power, including a crank or battery radio, a non-cordless home phone, portable chargers/batteries for your cell phones and your computers.
  • Stock food and water. Store non-perishable food and water supplies for at least two weeks. Plan to use coolers and ice to extend food refrigeration and keep a thermometer in the fridge, freezer or cooler to monitor the food temperature.
  • Know and plan for your personal and medical electrical needs. Take an inventory of your electrical needs. Consider both back up and non-power alternatives for lighting, communication, medical devices and refrigerated medicine, cooking, garage doors, locks and elevators. Discuss a plan with your primary care or medical device providers for your medical needs.
  • Plan for heating or cooling your home. Use methods such as sealing around windows to insulate your home. If the weather is very hot or very cold, plan to go to a location with air conditioning or with heat. Never use a generator, outdoor stoves or heaters indoors.
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Install smoke alarms with battery backup on every floor, inside and outside sleeping areas. Test monthly. Make sure that you have one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home.
  • Plan for surge protection. Make sure that you have current surge protectors for household electronics.
  • Plan how to decide to stay or go. Plan how and when you will evacuate safely to maintain needs such as power-dependent medical devices. Keep your car gas tank at least half full.

*Source Redcross.org

Let’s get weather-ready. Being prepared ahead of the storm is the first step to keeping your home and family safe.

Thunderstorm Safety

  • Have a storm safety plan with a designated meeting place in the home. Practice with children.
  • Keep on top of yard maintenance like trimming tree branches to limit breakages.
  • Take down and pack away play items such as slides, a swing frame or trampoline as well as outdoor ornaments.
  • Remove any debris or loose items in your yard. Branches and firewood may become missiles in strong winds.
  • Put your garbage can in the garage or a protected areas. You do not want garbage thrown across your lawn.
  • Stay away from windows. These could break at any moment.

The American Red Cross has more Summer Severe Weather Safety Tips.

Lightning Safety

  • Lightning can strike from 10 miles away, so if you can hear thunder, you are in danger of being struck by lightning.
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree, tower or utility pole. Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an area.
  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, including wires and fences.
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.

The American Red Cross has more Lightening Safety Tips.

Tornado Safety

  • Identify a safe place in your home where household members and pets will gather during a tornado: a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Cover yourself with thick padding - mattress, blankets, etc., to protect against falling debris and flying objects.
  • Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • In a high-rise building, pick a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.
  • In a mobile home, choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your safe place. No mobile home, however it is configured, is safe in a tornado.
  • Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a storm.
  • Consider installing permanent shutters to cover windows. Shutters can be closed quickly and provide the safest protection for windows.

The American Red Cross has more Tornado Safety Tips.

What to Do When the Lights Go Out

When the rain or snow is falling and the wind is howling, we might lose power in our homes. If a storm knocks out electricity, here are a few tips to stay safe:

  • Monitor alerts. Check local weather reports and any notifications by phone, television or radio. Sign up for the I&M App for power outage updates.
  • Contact your support network. Let people in your network know that you are OK, check to see if they’re OK, and tell each other if you need help.
  • Keep away from power lines. Stay at least 35 feet away from fallen power lines and anything they are touching. Call 911 and let them know.
  • Avoid electrical shock in flood areas. Don’t go into flooded areas or use any electrical equipment or electronics that may have been submerged. Have a qualified electrical inspector check the, first.
  • Prevent power overloads and fire hazards. Unplug appliances and electronics to avoid power overloads or damage from power surges. Use flashlights, not candles.
  • Refuel Outside. Refill heaters, lamps and generators outside, away from any flames or sparks. Wipe up fuel spills immediately.
  • Let us know if you're using a generator. This protects you and our line workers as they work to restore power.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t use a gas stove to heat your home and do not use outdoor stoves indoors for heating or cooking. Keep generators outdoors only in well-ventilated areas at least 20 feet away from windows.
  • Keep children and pets safe. Don’t let children carry candles or oil lamps. Keep children and pets away form power lines and standing water.
  • Keep food cold and when in doubt, throw it out. Eat your fresh, perishable foods first. Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer to preserve cool temperatures. Use coolers with ice if necessary. If food is 40F or warmer, especially dairy and meat, throw it out. Ask your Dr. about using refrigerated medicines.

Who to Call for Help

Stay alert for hazards after the storm passes. When it’s safe, check for damage around your home. Look up for hanging tree limbs, ice or other objects that can fall.

Always remember this life-saving rule: Keep you and your loved ones away from standing water near wires and appliances. And remember to stay away from downed power lines!

Repairs to some parts of your home's electrical system are your responsibility. For your safety, I&M cannot restore power to damaged equipment. If your home's electrical system has been damaged, here's what you need to know before we can safely restore your power.

Step 1: Understand Responsibility

  • Homeowners are responsible for electrical equipment attached to the house. If any equipment is damaged, please contact a licensed electrician. We are not authorized to repair privately-owned equipment.
  • I&M is responsible for wires, service lines and facilities that deliver electricity to your house and meters that measure electricity use.

Step 2: Schedule Repairs

  • In the event that customer-owned equipment is damaged or pulled loose from the house, the homeowner is responsible for working with a licensed electrician to schedule repairs. Your homeowners insurance may cover the cost of the repairs.
  • Do not hire an unlicensed electrician or attempt to fix the damage yourself. If you need help finding a qualified electrician, I&M partners with HomeServe to make this process simple. Call HomeServe at 833.642.5914 to schedule an appointment with a licensed electrician.

Step 3: Inspections + Restoration

  • Once the repairs are complete and have passed all required inspections, contact I&M at 800.311.4634. We’ll work with you to restore power.
  • Check with local officials and your electrician to ensure you have the most up-to-date inspection requirements.

Hot Weather Safety

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids; drink about 16 ounces before starting and 5 to 7 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes.
  • Use a dehumidifer. It remove moisture from the air, which will leave you feeling cooler.
  • Wear protective clothing. Lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing helps protect against heat. Change clothing if it gets completely saturated.
  • Keep the sun out. Cover windows with curtains or shades to keep your home cooler.
  • Avoid dehydrating liquids. Alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks can hurt more than help.
  • Pace yourself. Slow down and work at an even pace. Know your own limits and ability to work safely in heat.
  • Use ceiling fans. Fans will circulate the air and make you feel cooler.
  • Schedule frequent breaks. Take time for rest periods and water breaks in a shaded or air conditioned area.
  • Use a damp rag. Wipe your face or put it around your neck.
  • Avoid getting sunburn. Use sunscreen and wear a hat if working outside.
  • Be alert to signs of heat-related illness. Know what to look for and check on others that might be at high risk.
  • Avoid direct sun. Find shade or block out the sun if possible.
  • Eat smaller meals. Eat fruits high in fiber and natural juice. Avoid high protein foods.

The American Red Cross has more Excessive Heat Safety Tips.

Cold Weather Safety

  • Create a support network. Identify people who can help you stay at home or evacuate during an extended power outage. Keep a paper copy of your contact list.
  • Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, wear mittens and a hat preferably one that covers your ears.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle: windshield scraper and small broom. A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats. Matches in a waterproof container. A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna. An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing and boots, extra blankets and non-perishable food.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Bring pets animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
  • Keep pipes from freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.

The American Red Cross has more Winter Storm Safety Tips.

Additional Storm Resources

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