So it has finally begun. The first storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season, Arthur, spun up off the Central Florida coast. The outer rain bands kissed the coastline. Outside my office, a few miles from Cocoa Beach, the storm winds blow from the Kennedy Space Center and clouds shuffled across the sky. The sun periodically broke through adding another dash of heat to the oppressive tropical air.
Arthur’s presence is a good time, if you haven’t already, to ask yourself if your family is prepared for hurricane season. Arthur is that annual “wake-up call.” Do you have food, water, medical supplies and an evacuation plan ready? Do you have emergency generator in the event of a power outage?
Over the course of thirty-five years, I reported on hurricanes that became household names like Hugo, Opal, Andrew, Katrina, Wilma and dozens more. These storms are only remembered by the people who went through them and the good folks at the National Hurricane Center. From what I saw over those years, the worst part was not always the storm itself but the aftermath. Do you know what to expect when a hurricane strikes??
As much as you need to be prepared for the storm, you need to be prepared for what you and your family will face after the wind stops blowing. That may be the time of greatest hardship. It is recommended that you have supplies on hand to last for at least seventy-two hours. Your water supply may be undrinkable. Roads may not be passable. Power will be out. You will suffer through stifling summer heat with no lights, no air conditioning or refrigeration. Time after time, storm after storm people would say to me, “If only we had a generator.” And like clockwork, as soon as stores opened there was a run for food, water, gasoline and you guessed it, generators!
In October 2005, Hurricane Wilma cut across South Florida. Some neighborhoods were without power for more than three weeks. In my neighborhood it was eight days. Because Wilma hit the tail end of October, the heat wasn’t a big issue. At the time, we had a portable generator to keep a few lights on, the refrigerator running and fans going. Just as importantly, we could keep cell phones charged and stay in touch with loved ones.
We take power for granted. Until you don’t have it you have no idea how much you rely on it. That portable generator was one of the best storm prep investments I ever made. While I was reporting on Wilma, I knew my family would at least have some semblance of comfort. If you can fit it in your budget, a generator is a must have. And, while a portable generator is better than having no power at all, an automatic standby generator is truly a game changer. A standby generator is permanently and safely installed outside to provide power to all of the critical systems and appliances in your home. And because it comes on automatically and runs on natural gas or liquid propane gas, your family and home will be protected without ever needing to go outside to set up and refuel the generator. If you want lasting quality, from a company that’s been around a lot longer than I’ve covered hurricanes, Kohler Generators should be at the top of your list.
John Zarrella is a former network correspondent.