Hurricane Irene is barreling up the East Coast as we speak, and while you should definitely heed local authorities' warnings about preparing your home (or getting the heck out of the way), our tech can also use some TLC before the storm hits. Gadgets may be the last thing on your mind when a hurricane, twister, or big electrical storm blows through, but if you want them to stand the test of time, heed some of these tips before taking shelter.
- Unplug your hardware during an electrical storm — Make sure that your laptops, hard drives, gaming consoles, and other electronic equipment are unplugged during severe weather. If lightning does strike, you could experience a power surge that could knock out and/or fry your gadgets from the inside out.
- Use surge protectors, and replace them every few years — Don't just plug your expensive equipment into any ol' power brick! Make sure your extension cords and power adapters have surge protection to ensure that any power spikes won't destroy your machines.
- Back up your data! — It should totally be in your head by now that routinely backing up your data is the best way to ensure you don't lose any important information or documents in the event that your laptops and computers suffer water damage, power surges, fire, or any other disaster. Keeping your backup hard drive in an airtight fireproof safe is probably your safest bet, but storing it in a waterproof container can help it stay dry in case of flooding.