Tip of the Week – Special Edition: Electronics and Hurricanes
At the time I’m writing this, we have a tropical storm, almost hurricane, churning in the Gulf. So now seems like a good time to put together a little check list for preparedness. Not for personal or home safety, but for electronics safety.
There’s a lot of places to find out how to prepare your home for a big storm. And a lot of places to get a list of foodstuffs that you need for “weathering” the storm at home or for evacuating. But I haven’t seem much for what to do with your electronics.
The main thing to keep in mind is the likelihood of a power outage is high. You should always have your computer on at least a surge suppressor, but even better is an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). This will keep power coming to your computer for a few minutes, giving you enough time to shut it down properly. It’s not good for a computer to be just lose power unexpectedly. The hard drive can be damaged and files can be lost. An UPS cannot be used in place of generator-power. It only lasts a few minutes.
If you use an office computer and you have an IT department (that person you call when there’s a computer problem), follow their instructions. Before you walk away from a computer that you’re personally responsible for, shut it down.
It’s also a good idea to get your computer up off the ground when a large storm is approaching. Even if there’s not local flooding, a window can be broken allowing water onto your home or office floor. Shut the computer down, disconnect all of the cables (I recommend bundling them together with a rubber band so you don’t lose any), and then put the computer in your chair. Maybe inside a plastic bag. Tuck the chair under your desk as much as possible.
Another thing to remember is to charge all of your mobile devices ahead of time. Keep them plugged in until the power goes out. This includes your laptop, iPad, tablet, phones, aircards. Just keep in mind that aircards connect to towers that also have to have power. So if there’s a wide spread power outage, the aircard may not be able to connect to the internet either.
Make sure that you also have mobile chargers for as many devices as possible. If necessary, you can charge your phone or tablets in your car after the storm passes and you’re waiting for power to be restored.
Lastly, know your passwords. If you do lose your computer, and you have all of your internet/software passwords saved on it, you’re going to struggle getting this information back together later. You have enough to deal with without having to worry about this. Make a list of the usernames and passwords in a notebook, pocket calendar, etc, and keep it stored with your important documents. This may not be a critical step, but it can take a little pressure off of an already stressful situation.
Good luck, stay safe, and keep an eye on the weather.
If you have any questions, please call us at 850-244-2411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Beck, MLS Director
Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS
Fort Walton Beach, FL