It seems like it was only yesterday that I was writing this very column about Hurricane Irene for our November 2011 issue. And now we’ve just lived through Hurricane Sandy, which came with huge warnings and delivered much devastation. Me, I was without power, landline phones, Internet, and cable for 6 days. I experienced an inconvenience not even close to the tragedies that so many families did, but was glad I’d taken a cue from Irene’s havoc to make sure my gear was properly protected in case of a crippling power outage. If you’ve experienced hurricane wrath, you might want to think about doing what I’ve done. I mean, if you’re going to drop 15K (or more) on a home theater, you really should put in the extra dollars to protect and preserve it.
For example, I have a whole-home generator system. My system runs off propane (a 300-gallon tank) and powers 75% of the house. The generator kicks in 12 seconds after loss of power. When I built my house 7 years ago, I was the only one in my neighborhood who had one. Now it’s hard to find anyone nearby without some form of generator. Even an inexpensive gas generator can be enough to power a sump pump, refrigerator, some heat, and a few lights. This can save you thousands in damages and make life just a little easier during a bad time. Due to Hurricane Sandy, I experienced some major brownouts and power surges.
As a result, my heat wasn’t working because the surge blew out a circulator in my plumbing as well as a fuse in my air-handler system. My com puter lighting system had two of its seven modules fried by the surge, so that meant no lights on the entire first floor. It’s worth reiterating: You cannot spend enough for really good surge protectors. Don’t waste money on those cheap power strips you can get at the local store. They may save an appliance or two, but they will not protect your computers, DVRs, or TVs. Buy something like what I have — the APC Back-UPS RS 700 (shown above), which you can get for $100.
I pay for the bare-minimum package all year for DirecTV, and it’s well worth it in case of outages like this. I needed to get information during Sandy about everything from when the power might come back to the gas shortage. DirecTV gave me all that info. I also got to see the devastation that my family and friends a mere 30 miles away were going through; so sad. Besides DirecTV, many folks in my neighborhood kept up with the news using iPads and iPhones. (A few of my friends may have sent their data packages through the roof.)
All in all, I felt much more prepared than most. I suggest you consider obtaining the following items before the next hurricane or other natural disaster hits: a generator, good surge protectors, and good insurance. Hmm, that reminds me, I should call my insurance agent — right now.
Gary Dell'Abate is the executive producer of The Howard Stern Show. His best-selling autobiography, They Call Me Baba Booey, is out now in paperback. Further details at bababooey.com.
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