It’s thunderstorm season! Whether or not you love thunderstorms or they send you hiding under your covers with your pet, you need to prepare for them. Next time there’s a severe thunderstorm in the forecast, practice these tips in case of a power outage or other issues.

Prep an Emergency Kit

It’s always best to have an emergency kit on hand, just in case. It’s a good idea to include the following items: non-perishable food, water, batteries, flashlight, first aid supplies, hygiene products, and a radio.

Prepare your Outdoor Space

If you have time before the storm hits, take some time to prepare your outdoor space. If there are any rotting trees or loose branches that could potentially blow off and hit your home or other property during high winds, cut them down. Shutter your windows if that’s an option. Secure any objects that could blow away, such as patio furniture, children’s toys, and plants. If you have pets/animals in outdoor barns, remember to prepare their space to keep them protected too.

Unplug Electronics

You’ve probably heard horror stories of electronics, like computers, being fried during a lightning storm. It’s safest to unplug any and all appliances that you can during a lightning storm. If lightning strikes near an electrical pole, it can cause a power surge. Your appliances are not designed to withstand this burst of electricity and they can fry. This rarely happens, but unplug electronics like your tv, computers, and gaming consoles just in case.

Stay Inside

It’s common sense to stay inside during a thunderstorm, but you might not know that there are certain places in your home you should avoid. You should definitely stay away from windows and doors, but you should also avoid lying on concrete floors or leaning against them. Because plumbing can conduct electricity, it’s best to stay away from water if you can. Stay out of the shower and bath during a lightning storm and don’t do laundry or dishes.

Handling a Power Outage

If you encounter a power outage, there are a few rules you should follow depending on how severe it is. If it’s simply a minor power outage and the power comes back on after a few minutes, you won’t need to do anything. However, if it lasts for several hours, you need to minimize food loss. Keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. Your fridge will keep foods cold for upwards of four hours as long as you keep the door closed. A full freezer will keep a stable temperature for upwards of two days. Use perishable foods first before relying on non-perishables. Turn off and unplug all your appliances. When the power inevitably comes back on, the surge of electricity can damage your appliances. It helps to leave one light on so that when the power comes back, you’ll know immediately. If you’re using a portable generator, remember that you can connect it to individual appliances, but not to your home’s electrical system. If you have questions about using a generator, talk to an electrician.