Surviving Thunderstorms Tips
We've been battered with serious thunderstorms this past month and three days ago lightening struck outside the trailer. I was at my friend's house when it happened. They lost power from downed lines somewhere. We didn't lose power, but we discovered the next morning that the lightning strike fried our satellite dish TV service and phone line.
Apparently, we've done a few things right in preparing for storms because only those things sustained damage. (See surviving thunderstorms tips below.)
To repair the TV, we decided to upgrade our system to new equipment for a $19.95 service fee. We get a standard DVR box, a new dish since ours is an old version, and whatever it takes to get the system working again. Plus, since we've been out of service since the weekend, Directv is crediting us $5 per month for the next three months and giving us two months of free Showtime.
Contrast this to the standard $79.95 service call to repair the broken equipment or $5.99 to activate their service plan with a $19.95 service call under that service, and we've definitely chosen the best option. If you end up with screwed up equipment, always ask the company about upgrade options and customer credit incentives. Chances are you can find a better deal than paying for service calls flat out.
For our phone line, I tested the box at the pole and we had dial tone, but none at the jack in the house, so whatever the lightening hit and fried, it was between the two--75 feet of between. Jim decided to buy new wire, so yesterday evening Jim and IJ ran new wire from the box to the house and installed a new house jack. Presto! Dial tone. And our Internet seems to be working a little faster since Jim bought better quality wire.
I'm very glad I plugged our phone line from the jack to a surge protector before running it to the computers, phone, and fax. If I had not, the lightning probably would have fried all of them, costing us big bucks to replace.
Here are a few storm tips to help you in case of lost electricity or a lightning strike:
- Always plug your phone line from the jack to a surge protector before running it to your equipment.
- Plug in all your electronic equipment into surge protectors.
- Fill your bathtub with water when you hear lightning and thunder coming, and place a bucket nearby. If you lose power and cannot flush your toilet due to your well pump that can't work until electricity is back on, you can still flush your toilet with a bucket full of water from the tub as well as perform quick washes. (Since lightning is attracted to water, a full tub in front of a window may not be your best option. Instead opt for a few filled buckets kept away from windows.)
- Close windows by sinks and other indoor water sources. And don't wash dishes or shower during storms. Jim's mom had lightning come through her kitchen window into her sink as she was washing dishes. Not a fun experience.
- Get out a flashlight.
- Know where your matches or lighters and candles or oil lamps are and have them easily accessible.
- Between storms, purchase and install stick up battery operated lights on your walls.
- Get a storm radio that operates with batteries and test it before you need it.
- Keep a few gallons of bottled water stocked for drinking needs while electricity is out. Use and replace periodically.