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Op/ED: Put Mother Nature On Holiday Shopping List

Get flashlights, batteries and other supplies before the next storm hits.

By Sharon Civil Defense Director Michael Polimer

 

Hurricane Irene and the 2011 Halloween storm have come and gone. Those two storms have again raised our interest in home emergency preparedness.

Unfortunately in our busy lives, the "shelf life" of events is short, and we will soon forget what it is to live without electricity for several days.

The upcoming holiday gift season gives us opportunities to purchase items at very favorable prices.

A recent tour of the "big box" stores turned up bargains as small as LED flash lights and as big as electric generators. While these things might not be the ideal flashy hot gift items, they will be appreciated the next time the wires go down. Maybe a generator as a "family" gift is this year's big purchase?

Some ideas include:

  • LED flashlights
  • Spare gas grille propane tank
  • Car chargers for cell phones
  • Gas grille cookware
  • Battery-powered radios
  • Battery-powered fluorescent lighting
  • Gasoline-powered generators
  • Extension cords
  • Emergency kit bag/box
  • Emergency First Aid kits

Some tips for pmergency preparedness item storage:

  • Do not store items with batteries installed. The batteries can leak and ruin your equipment.
  • Keep emergency gas grille tank full, and don't use it when your regular tanks run out. Gasoline-powered generators are a particular storage problem. Today's gasoline contains ethanol which can and will gum up fuel systems. The very best way to ensure your generator will start and run properly when you need it (mine didn't) is to never put gasoline in it until you need it in "anger." This is hard to do when you are spending hundreds of dollars for a machine and you would like to know it works when you bring it home. The next best thing to do is run machine 100 percent dry and swab out gas tank with a clean dry rag.
  • If machine has a metal gas tank, spray WD-40 into the tank liberally before you put generator away. There are several gasoline additives which allow you to safely store gas for up to a year before it goes bad. Make sure they are formulated for ethanol gasoline. Your owner’s manual probably outlines long-term storage issues, read it and follow their instructions. At Sharon Civil Defense, we keep everything as dry as we can make them.

Future articles will delve into emergency generators in detail, discuss battery- powered equipment and talk about home safety during power outages.

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