A Valuable Lesson Learned: Being Prepared During Natural Disasters

A few weeks ago, Hurricane Barry wreaked havoc at our South Louisiana home.  The locals were referring to this storm as “Hurricane Barely”.  Not so at our humble abode. 

We experienced a massive power surge.  When the surge happened, we began to hear popping sounds around our home, immediately followed by a terrible burning smell.  Convinced we were having a fire, we started checking everything, including the attic.  It was not long into our search that we discovered that ALL of our “TRUE” surge protectors had burned out.  The load was so strong that the surge protector in our living room left a quarter-size burn mark on our floor. 

The true surge protectors worked as they were intended.  All of that equipment was saved. 

For as long as I can remember, I have been under the false assumption that if a power strip had a light, then it was also a surge protector.

That Assumption Is False!

It was extremely scary to hear lights popping, the burning smell all over the house, and the sheer panic of thinking we were having a fire!

What we lost, and it was a lot, were the things that were on power strips that were not surge protectors.

We started assessing our damages, as well as replacing everything with true surge protectors.  In doing so, we wanted to know if you can plug surge protectors and extension cords into each other.

I started researching and believe it or not, I was lucky enough to find HowToGeek.Com They had the following two articles entitled “Can You Plug Surge Protectors and Extension Cords Into Each Other?, and “What’s the Difference Between a Power Strip and a Surge Protector?"

As we are approaching the peak of Hurricane Season in the South, I thought it was the perfect time to share this article! 

I found the entire website to be extremely professional and informative.  I was so impressed that I wrote to them and asked for permission to share the links to the articles with you.  We are very appreciative of their partnership with us on this project.  

We have added the link to their website under our other resources section. 

I hope that every one of you reads this article and IMMEDIATELY performs a home inspection to assess your risk for fire.  Examine each and every outlet and appliance to make sure you are properly protected. 

I explained to these gentlemen that I had been talking to various family, friends and all of the various repairmen whom I have been with this past week.  None of them knew that not all power strips with a light are surge protectors.

An immediate security check within your home could save your life. 

While looking at each outlet, pay close attention to extension cords as well.  I certainly have never heard of a daisy-chain until I read these two articles. 

I apparently have been using daisy-chains for most of my life!

According to https:www.howtogeek.com:

“When shopping for a surge protector at a store, be sure to look for the words “surge protector” or at least “protection” or “suppression”. You’ll often see power strips and surge protectors near each other in the store, and they can look similar at a glance.  The power strips will be cheaper, but read the fine print” Anything that says “power strip” isn’t a surge protector”.

It is further recommended that if you have a bunch of power strips laying around, and you simply do not know what they are, flip the device over and see if you see “protection” or “suppression” on it, the device you have in your hands is a surge protector.

Several of the various devices in our house took the surge and were burnt out completely.  However; many of them still had the light working. 

It is imperative that my computer equipment and printer be online at all times.  I have an enhanced protection system for my work equipment.  It is called an uninterruptible power supply. 

We still have not completed all repairs from this minimal hurricane. 

We have learned an extremely expensive and valuable lesson throughout this process.  

Once your house is protected, you will need to periodically check all of your protectors and determine that they are still functioning properly or, whether or not they need to be replaced. 

We are safe and lucky we did not have a fire.  And, we are grateful that the storm was not worse than it was. 

As a final thought:  Always keep in mind that overloaded circuits can cause electrical fires.  Only plug extension cords, power strips or surge protectors directly into an outlet.  

By the way, daisy-chain is connecting several devices in a linear series. 

Also, from the research we did, we discovered that it is NOT recommended to place a surge protector on your refrigerator, but it IS recommended that you have one on your washer.  This I know firsthand.  I had a power strip and lost the motherboard to my washing machine. 

Be prepared and be safe!