While no one can stop hurricanes, flooding and winter storms, you can do something to protect your family and your property from accidents and damages. Follow these 10 expert tips to reduce the impact of weather-related emergencies.
When a storm is imminent, prepare your home adequately. If you’re expecting a hurricane and flooding, clear away the debris clogging the rain gutters to allow water to flow. It lessens the extensive and long hours of cleaning you’ll have to do when you return, and protects your property from permanent damage.
If your basement is prone to flooding, move the furniture away or store items in an elevated position so they don’t get wet. You can also install a sump pump to remove the accumulated water from the basement to the outside of your home. It’s best if it has back-up power.
Move your outdoor seat, table, grill or plant pots to a sheltered area. Your outdoor space should be free from clutter that can cause broken windows or crash into the walls when blown by strong wind. If you don’t have storm shutters, make temporary coverings for glass doors or windows out of pieces of plywood, and use them when there’s an upcoming storm.
Mature or decayed branches can snap and bend, damaging property and power lines. Bent but unsnapped tree limbs can suddenly give and harm people passing by your home. Minimize the damage by pruning weak and overextended tree branches. Doing so will reduce the wind resistance on the canopy and the likelihood of snapping trees.
Listen to forecasts and news to confirm whether it’s necessary to leave your home for a hotel, a friend’s home or a shelter. Hours before the storm arrives, you may hear an order from the authorities to evacuate.
Be ready to have a go-bag with essential items to carry at a moment’s notice. This bag should contain water and non-perishable foods, a flashlight, a first aid kit, clothing and other essentials you’ll need during the storm.
If you’re expecting a snowstorm, insulate your garage to trap the warm air your HVAC system generates. You can maximize the heat for a long time and simultaneously cut down the skyrocketing electricity bills caused by an overworking heating system.
Replace the insulation with fiberglass batt if the current materials are no longer or less effective in containing the warm air. Make sure you seal garage holes and cracks, and change door weather seals to support maximum insulation if they have visible damage.
Keep hard-to-replace documents like land titles, marriage certifications, Social Security cards, citizen papers and passports in a waterproof container. It can be stressful to secure these records again if the storm damages them, so storing them properly reduces the hassle and stress of securing them post-hurricane.
Mobile phones help spread information rapidly during weather emergencies, so charge them before the power goes off. Have enough balance for mobile data if the Wi-Fi connection gets cut off. Your phone is essential during an emergency, so have them ready with a full battery. Invest in a portable power pack so you can power up your devices anytime.
You’ll need your vehicle in good condition if the authority mandates an abrupt evacuation. Park it in an appropriate or sheltered space, not under electricity lines, trees or low-lying areas. Fill the tank with gas before the storm to avoid the long line of refilling stations. Gas shortages are likely after a storm and routes can become congested. Being ready means you can travel without interruption.
Keep additional emergency supplies in the car. Pack a spare tire, flashlights, shovel, matches, blankets, clothes, extra water and food.
Stock up on food supplies and other necessities, as the roads could be unsafe to drive on after the storm and prohibit you from getting grocery items. Examples are canned goods, fruit bars and dried fruits, granola and high-energy foods. If you want to include some healthy options, fruits like apples, oranges, unripe avocados and tomatoes have a longer shelf life even at room temperature. Remember to have enough water supply, too.
A generator can make things extra convenient during a blackout. It can power up your home, and allow you to cook, have hot water and fully-charged phone batteries.
While it’s beneficial, it comes with risks if misused. At least 770 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning between 2011 and 2021 because of running portable generators unsafely. Precautions are crucial when using a generator during power interruptions to prevent unfortunate circumstances. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for safety use, or ask a generator expert about the dos and don’ts of using it during power failure.
No one can fully predict what will happen during a storm or when it will turn into an emergency, so drafting a plan involving the entire family can make a difference in everyone’s safety. It should be in writing and include exit routes, safe areas, evacuation procedures, and emergency numbers.
Discuss what to do in case you get separated and assign one location where everyone will meet. Before the storm, practice the emergency plan so you’re prepared.
Weather-related emergencies are bad news, but you can prepare in advance to reduce the damage to your home and protect your kids. Get ready for the next big storm using these tips.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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