While winter may have officially just begun, severe winter weather has already hit many communities across the country. Power outages can leave many stranded without a way to communicate, which can be both frustrating, and unsafe.
“Recent weather events remind us how important it is to have the right resources to stay safe and connected. We heard from thousands of customers wishing for a weather radio to monitor storms or who were fighting the frustration of low battery power on phones and laptops with no way to charge them,” said Paul Rutenis, chief merchandising officer at RadioShack.
The majority of the country was covered in an icy mix of snow and sleet the first two weeks of the month. Snow, ice or floods caused by the melting accumulation of wintry weather all pose hazards, and the following guidelines can help prepare you for any winter storm:
- Keep your cell phone and tablets charged with portable power. Cell phones are often lifelines to the outside world in an emergency, especially since texts and data may be able to get through when phone calls can’t.
- Invest in backup power such as portable power banks or solar chargers.
- Your car battery can also provide backup power with a car charger – or a power inverter for larger items like laptops.
- Keep a battery operated radio on hand. Two big threats of winter weather are loss of power and getting caught by surprise. A battery-operated weather radio will enable you to tune into critical weather information, and hand crank models never run out of power.
- Update your home emergency kit for winter conditions to include adequate blankets, snow and ice removal equipment and sufficient heating fuel. Your kit should also contain enough fresh water and non-perishable foods to last 3-5 days per person, as well as a can opener, first aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries. It’s a good idea to refresh your flashlight and portable radio batteries once a year.
- Protect your electronics by plugging them into a surge protector or unplugging them when power outages and surges are likely.
- Minimize travel. If you must travel, ensure your car has an emergency kit including blankets, non-perishable foods, technology to communicate emergencies and tools for car accidents. Try to avoid traveling at night, alone and on back roads.