The weatherman has just delivered the news that a storm is barreling straight for your city, and you’ll be smack in the middle of it. You live in an area routinely hit by devastating storms, so you know what can happen when one strikes. You’re sure it’s going to be more than just some harmless wind and rain. So, what should you do to protect your family and valuables? Here are 12 things you can do now to protect your family when a storm looms.
Have an expert inspect the roof before the storm hits. If the roof already has glaring issues such as leaks, cracks, blown-off shingles or beams, talk to an expert on whether you should invest in a roof replacement or if repairs are enough. Note that a weak roof exposes your valuables to damage from rain, which will make your clean-up efforts more difficult.
While the exterior doors might look strong, they may be vulnerable to high winds. Consider adding more locks and chains to ensure they remain secure. Additionally, strengthen them by adding metal braces for extra support. If possible, replace or reinforce old or damaged locks with high-quality ones. If not, at least make sure they are secure.
If your windows are old, they will not withstand high winds and debris. Fix extra locks or replace them with new and better ones. Additionally, add a shatterproof film to prevent breaking. Note that when a window breaks, the storm can damage the interior and apply pressure to the roof, causing it to collapse.
Your valuables should be ready for a storm too. Consider:
- Storing them away
- Securing fragile items by placing adhesive tape on the four corners of each item
- Secure items to a wall or surface
- Marking fragile items so you can identify them in the aftermath of an evacuation
Ensure valuables are packed in dry boxes to protect them from water damage. If you’re unsure of where to store your items, a safe inside the house or cupboards sealed with strong locks are ideal choices. Also, the basement may be an excellent safe place if the house has one.
Prepare your home with a backup power source. Electrical lines are vulnerable during harsh weather conditions. Have the correct number of batteries, inverters, and generators to power emergency lighting, appliances, and medical equipment.
Also, make sure you know how to use your backup power sources. Invest in surge protectors for your devices, plug all the electronic equipment into them, and turn them off before the storm hits.
Check the fire detectors regularly to make sure they are in working order. Do not forget to replace the batteries when necessary. If you need to buy new sensors, buy only approved models and connect to the main power supply.
Invest in suitable insurance coverage on time. Before a storm is about to hit, make sure your insurance policy is updated and covers all the risks. For example, flooding or rising waters can cause extensive damage to your valuables, so ensure your policy covers water damage. Additionally, a storm can destroy your home’s electrical wiring. Make sure your policy covers the replacement of damaged appliances and repairs.
To protect and prepare your pets for the storm, bring them indoors. If they are not allowed indoors, make sure they are in an enclosed shelter that’s strapped down. Secure the pets using a leash and tie them to a sturdy item. Remember to put ID tags on your pets in case they escape — however, it’s best to have the pets near you when the storm hits.
Ensure your pantry is well-stocked with emergency supplies. These should include water, canned goods, energy bars, first aid supplies, flashlights, and batteries. Additionally, prepare a portable survival kit with a map of the area, cash in small denominations, a thermal blanket, whistle, dust mask, gloves, and sturdy footwear.
Create a family emergency plan with the help of your local emergency management office. Follow the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and learn how to apply it to the current situation. It is a simple process that will help you save time and ensure everyone’s safety.
Clear the yard of debris such as loose materials and large branches to avoid injuries when a storm hits. Also, remove children’s toys, weak structures, and garbage bins that high winds can pick up, causing property damage.
Trim your trees regularly to prevent damage to the roof and other structures. Dispose of hazardous materials, lawn equipment, and flammable items away from your home to avoid fire danger.
Floods can cause massive damage to your property. Equip your home with measures that keep the water out, such as sump pumps if you live in a low-lying area. You can also elevate appliances above the ground level, clean your gutters and drains, and ensure the roof drains properly.
If you’re worried you might get trapped in your home, evacuate before the storm hits. Once it arrives, stay indoors and safe until it passes. Avoid going near windows or outside. Monitor the news for updates, and have an emergency plan in place.