MILWAUKEE (May 28, 2009) -The average U.S. household will lose power five times this year. Many of those outages are caused by unexpected emergency weather situations. This September, the Ready Campaign hopes Americans will honor the seventh annual National Preparedness Month by taking simple steps to prepare for emergencies such as power outages.
Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, blizzard or another sudden disaster, communication and access to up-to-date information is critical for families during an emergency. Fortunately, with a little planning, there are ways to stay plugged in when the power goes out.
Perhaps the easiest way to stay connected during an extended power outage is by supplying power to your home with an automatic standby generator system.
“With a standby generator system, your household will stay plugged in, even if your neighborhood is left in the dark,” said Harold Redman, president of Briggs & Stratton Home Power Products Group, exclusive licensee of Standby Generator Systems by GE. “This means you can power computers, TV and radio, and charge cell phones or cordless landlines — everything you need to stay connected during an emergency.”
Standby generators provide power to a household’s large appliances when the main power source is down. Common home appliances operated by a standby generator include air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, clothes washers/dryers and lights.
“A standby generator offers a backup power source for a home, but what it really gives a family is peace of mind that their household will be prepared when disaster strikes,” said Redman, whose corporation is also a National Preparedness Month coalition member.
Even without an automatic standby generator system, families can take steps to stay connected when the lights go dark. Online mobile devices and mobile phones with Internet access allow information to continue to flow into the home.
First, make sure you have a power source for these devices if the power goes out, such as an inverter, solar charger or car charger. Then, investigate local and national information sources, such as these:
- Check with your local city, utility and public safety departments. Oftentimes, they allow citizens to sign up for mobile alerts via text messaging or e-mail to notify them of impending emergencies and clean-up efforts.
- Local news stations routinely offer mobile alerts that can be sent directly to your phone for free.
- Sites like Nixle.com work much the same way. You sign up for the free service and, after entering your zip code, receive tailored emergency alerts and advisories via text messaging or e-mail from local government and safety agencies. As of January 2010, more than 4,200 agencies offered alerts for their residents.
- Weather.com has free mobile weather alerts offering personalized weather forecasts, watches and warnings.
- For iPhone and iPad users, the Pacific Disaster Center’s recently released “Disaster Alert” app allows users to track impending natural disasters world wide — a great tool for those in hurricane-threatened states. The app is available for download through iTunes and AppShopper.
- “Storm Spotter,” another iPhone app available for purchase, uses your phone’s GPS to show surrounding radar. It’s a big benefit if you’re stuck without power in the middle of a storm.
- Websites keep you informed, too. Visit ready.gov for a variety of additional tips to prepare for the unexpected and keep your family safe. For more information on what families need to know about automatic standby generators, visit www.powermoreforless.com/prepare.
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and health, to access to money and information, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. GE is Imagination at Work. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.