In Wisconsin, we often experience strong thunderstorms and the occasional microburst and/or tornado. Even though most of the strong thunderstorms result in minimal damage, it is best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Also, as a rural community, it is not uncommon for the power to go out after strong winds.
When you live on the lake, you get accustomed to storms and learn how to best prepare. In case you are new to the area, below is a list of things to consider before, during, and after the storm.
Secure boats, furniture, recreational equipment, & outdoor items. If you leave items outside, consider labeling them with your address just in case they blow away.
Keep your gutters, downspouts, and drains clear of debris.
Keep trees and branches away from your house.
Check your roof often for damage and maintain accordingly.
Check your insurance policy for coverages and deductibles. Update as necessary.
Exchange phone numbers with neighbors and/or locals. Arrange with a neighbor or friend to check your home for damage or to alert you to power outages.
Prepare an emergency kit. Store it somewhere you can access it quickly in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have an emergency kit, here are the essentials:
Make sure you have non-perishable food, enough for a few days.
Stock up on water, enough for a few days.
Locate your candles and matches and/or flashlights.
Collect your medications and first aid supplies.
Consider purchasing a battery powered radio.
Consider purchasing a generator.
Prepare the generator and chain saws. Make sure you have enough gas and/or charge up the batteries!
Charge up your devices and batteries in case the power goes out. Consider a battery pack for charging your phones.
Unplug any devices that could be impacted by an electrical surge. Alternatively, use surge protectors when plugging your laptop and other devices.
Make a plan. Know where you should shelter in the event of a tornado warning.
Know where your electrical box is located. Label the switches accordingly. This can be helpful if you need to turn them off.
Know how to turn off the water.
Store important documents together in a safe place so that you can easily grab the essentials. A fire and waterproof safe works well. Consider collecting the following important documents: birth certificates, social security cards, ownership certificates, insurance policies, will, etc.
Make a household inventory and update as you make large purchases. The household inventory should include the list of items, photographs or videos of each room including closets etc., and photographs of high valued items such as jewelry.
Prepare your pets. Make sure they have identification. Get extra pet supplies, medications, and toys. Have a carrier if needed.
Grab a pair of tennis shoes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and work gloves and shelter with them. It may sound silly when it is a 90-degree day, however, if there is storm damage, you will want to have these items when walking through debris.
Store the important phone numbers in your phone – We Energies, service professionals, family, and others who you may need to contact.
During the Storm
Stay inside and alert.
Stay away from windows.
Monitor weather alerts and follow advisory recommendations.
Shelter in a safe room when directed. Ideally, go to your basement, storm cellar, or lowest level of the building. If you don’t have a basement, go to the center of the interior room on the lowest level away from doors, windows, corners, and outside walls.
Wait for daylight and for the storm to pass before surveying the damage.
After the Storm
Check for any injuries and seek medical assistance as needed.
If you see any wires down, stay far away from them and report them to We Energies.
Once it is safe to go outside, survey the damage. Check for downed branches and trees. Survey your roof for any damage. Pick up any blown debris.
Take pictures of all damage – both inside and outside of the house. These pictures are important for insurance purposes.
Listen for emergency updates on the tv and/or battery powered radio.
Check for any gas leaks, electrical system damage, water line damage, and sewage damage. If you detect damage, call your professional.
Let your friends and family know you are okay.
When the power is out, here are a few things to consider:
Go to Weenergies.com to report an outage and/or monitor the repair status and estimated time of power restoration.
If we have power, Lake Home Info is open and available for your use. Come on over for free power, chargers, internet, and heat and/or air conditioning.
If the power is out and you are using a generator, be mindful of how much power is being used. Every electrical appliance has a little plate with the number of watts it uses on it. Add the number of watts together and make sure they add up to less than the maximum recommended wattage for the generator and you should be good. You can always call an electrician, such as Adam’s Electric in Elkhorn.
A few other tips for when the power is out include:
Keep your refrigerator and freezer door closed. The less you open it, the better it will maintain a cooler temperature.
If you have a gas stove, you might just be in luck & able to warm up food.
Remember the water will be limited to what is in your pipes. You might get one flush or one hand wash. Use it wisely.
Be a good neighbor and help each other out. If you have coordinated with your neighbor in the past to look out for each other and have their permission, survey their property and let them know how the property held up. Many around the lake are only here on weekends and seasonally. If you can save them the drive to check on their property and have their permission, they will be grateful to know it’s all good or what they are walking into.
Check out the Whitewater Lake Wisconsin Facebook page for tree removal, roof repair, and other contractor recommendations.
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