GREENSBORO, NC – When a storm hits, reporters and meteorologists urge people to stay safe, gather emergency preparedness kits and have an evacuation plan ready in case of tornadoes.
And while searching the good ole internet, I came across several “weather hacks.” But, do they actually work and would they be safe if they did?
HACK ONE: Batteries
The first hack I found is in case the power goes out and you find yourself reaching for a flashlight, only to realize the batteries are dead and you don’t have the right size.
Hack: You can turn AAA batteries into AA batteries using aluminum foil.
Wrap up a ball of foil and stuff it into the case of your device where the battery's negative terminal connects. As long as you have enough foil to fill in the gap, your device should turn on.
Does It Work? It sure did. Although, it’s important to note, the light wasn’t as strong with the batteries and aluminum foil, but it could work in a pinch.
HACK TWO: Make-shift candles
If for some reason you don’t have a flashlight, batteries, lantern or candles (or if you don’t want to risk draining your battery by using the flashlight on your phone), the next hack suggests you can use butter or crayons.
Hack: Using butter, cut a stick of butter in half, place it on a plate. Poke a hole into it with a screwdriver, pencil, etc. Push through some cotton string or a piece of paper towel and light it.
Does It Work? Unless you want the house to smell like burnt toast, I’d skip this one. It’s messy, the butter melted fast, and the flame didn’t last.
Hack: Using crayons, take a group of crayons and secure them together with a rubber band, duct tape etc. Or just use one at a time to avoid lighting the duct tape or rubber band on fire. Melt the bottom of the crayons and stick them to a plate or even an empty tin or can. Light the top of the crayon.
Does It Work? NOOOOOPE. But, it would make for a great DIY art project with the kids.
HACK THREE: Dishwasher
If you’re worried about a flood or water seeping into your home or leaking from the roof and you have pictures or documents you want to keep safe, the next hack suggests keeping them in the dishwasher.
Hack: Place pictures or documents in a Ziploc bag and place them in the dishwasher.
Does It Work? Maybe. This hack would work, as long as the water didn’t reach above your dishwasher.
HACK FOUR: Earplugs
If you have trouble sleeping through the storm and don’t have earplugs handy, the next hack suggests using cotton balls instead.
Hack: Take a cotton ball, wrap it with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic wrap isn’t sticky) and secure it with a rubber band or tape. Then, mold the cotton ball to fit in your ear. It should fit snug and make sure not to jam it too far into your ear.
Does it Work? It works in a pinch, but it could prevent you from hearing the weather alerts on your phone or if anything crashed around you.
HACK FIVE: Protecting Electronics
This one is pretty straightforward. If you want to prevent a power surge from frying your electronics, make sure to unplug them if you don’t have a surge protector.
Does It Work? Yes, just make sure not to touch outlets, lights or electronics when the storm hits and lightening is striking nearby.
HACK SIX: Weather Notifications
This next one isn’t really a hack, but a great way to make sure you receive weather alerts.
For the WFMY APP, open the app and click the the settings wheel in the upper left hand corner of the app. When you click it a menu pops up. go to weather notifications and turn on your location to make sure you get the alerts you need to keep your family safe.
You can also turn on emergency alerts and Amber alerts on your IPhone, by going to settings, tap on notification center and scroll to the bottom. Under the Government Alerts section, toggle the AMBER Alerts or Government Alerts option on or off to enable or disable them.
For Android, head to Settings, click on the More option under the Wireless & Networks section, and scroll down to the Cell Broadcasts settings. Once opened, you will be given the option to enable extreme threats, severe threats, and Amber Alerts.