ORLANDO, Fla. – If there is talk about a hurricane on the way to Florida and you still haven’t prepped your supplies, you may be forgetting key items you need to survive without power.
Cade Carter with Ace Hardware in Central Florida said the important thing to remember while preparing for a storm is that you’re preparing for “basic survival living.”
“A lot of us still have to go to work and live and different things, without power in a lot of cases. And that’s what we’re talking about is major power outages,” Carter said. “Yes, there are some flooding and different things we want to prepare for also, but the main focus is, “Hey, how do we survive for seven days without power?”
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When a storm is imminent, Carter said gas cans and generators are the two items people rush to get.
“So if you’re on the fence about a generator, buy it now. Don’t wait till the storm comes,” he said.
Generators are a great resource to have in the aftermath of a hurricane, as long as they’re used correctly. The machines can keep a refrigerator running so that hundreds of dollars worth of food isn’t lost, among other things but when used incorrectly, generators can be deadly. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the concerns that comes with generator usage.
“Have that generator as far away from the house as possible. Absolutely do not put it in the garage. And definitely don’t have it in any enclosed areas near the house, very easy to prevent (deaths). A lot of people, in fact, are buying carbon monoxide — in fact we recommend this — carbon monoxide detectors with generators,” he said.
Another hazard that comes with generators impacts linemen. Carter said many times people who purchased generators try to self-rig the generator into the power system.
“And yeah, that can power the house. But what happens is these linemen who are out there, putting their lives on the line to repair power, during the storms, those lines actually become hot now with with electricity, and so they’re not aware of that and they can they can get shocked,” he said.
Carter said people use generators to power their fridge, some type of lighting and run an AC unit. If you’re deciding on a inverter generator, he said it is good for businesses that need to be able to run their servers or run a lot of electronics.
“Traditional generators can be fine for basic appliances, basic lights, but the power is going to be kind of spiky and low and so... you’re not going to notice it, you’re not gonna see lights flickering, you know, your fridge isn’t gonna complain to you, but electronics (are) gonna be a little bit more sensitive,” he said.
Carter urged Floridians to prepare now and keep supplies in a tote stored away in the garage or some place else until needed.
“It’s just a few basic things that you need to really be prepared and they’re so easy to buy now, it can be very cost effective to buy them now. And again, a lot of us have been struggling with just necessities in general throughout this pandemic, (the) last two years,” he said.
And if you have no idea where to start, Carter said every location is family-owned and operated, so you’ll get local advice.
“We live and work right here in the community with everyone else. And so when you’re coming in, you’re getting local advice, local expertise. Although it’s a name recognized across the country, every Ace store in the neighborhoods here in Central Florida have a local guy there that can help out,” he said.
Watch the full interview in the video player above to learn more and for what items Carter recommends Floridians stock up on before the storm.
Here is a checklist Carter’s Ace Hardware put together to help you prepare in advance: