With all the weird weather lately – ranging from hurricanes to tornadoes to floods – you’d be wise to think about what you need to do to prepare for major storm conditions. But before we go any further, let’s be clear: If you’ve been urged to evacuate – go, go, GO. We realize your home and your possessions are important, but not nearly as important as your hot little bod. Leave everything and head for the hills right away (if that’s what you’ve been instructed to do). However, if you have ample warning, time on your side, and if you’ve been recommended to stay at home, consider implementing these tips.
While the Skies are Clear (Days or Weeks Before a Storm – a.k.a. NOW):
- Your first line of defense is a phone call to a home insurance company. We’ve written about what you need to consider in choosing an insurance company – so take a look at it, make some calls, and get yourself appropriately covered if you aren’t already.
- Aware of some existing weak spots in your home? Loose siding? Leaky basement wall? A hex on your home? There is no time like the present to fix those up or hire someone to handle those jobs for you. Make sure things inside the home are up to snuff too – like securing heavy bookcases to the wall and making sure that glass items aren’t stored anywhere overhead.
- Maintain your landscaping, including trimming tree branches. If there’s a dead or dying tree near or on your property, look into what needs to be done to have it removed. The last thing you want is a weakened tree crashing into your home.
- Create an emergency package and keep it in a central location. Be sure to include a first aid kit, a couple self-powered flash lights (even better – a type that lets your charge your cell phone too!), blankets, socks, a tarp, non-perishable foods and a manual can opener (including food for your pets), water bottles, a whistle, water-proof matches and candles. Some bonus items to consider include a hand-cranked generator, a self-powered radio, extra clothing and a board game (old school entertainment while you wait for the storm to pass!). HF’s Editor Marc also survived a recent power outage with the Milwaukee M12 Powerport.
- Get the materials needed to board up your windows or sandbags to prevent flooding.
- Make sure your car is tuned up, has a spare tire and its own emergency kit should you need to leave in a hurry.
A Few Hours to Go:
- Fully charge your cell phone. (iPad, iPhone, Kindle, laptop, and wireless Hello Kitty mouse totally optional and probably not all that useful without light or the Internet).
- Anything that isn’t nailed down outside presents a potential danger to your home and anyone outside in the case of strong winds. If a storm is coming, bring everything – patio furniture, garbage cans, sandbox toys, bikes, gardening tools, etc. – inside your home, shed or garage. If your neighbours haven’t bothered to take their stuff in, take it in for them. Their garbage cans don’t care whose window they’re going through.
- Board your windows and / or lay out your sandbags.
- If flooding is a concern, bring your valuables and electronics to a higher / top floor. The first area of your home that will get flooded is likely your basement, followed by your main floor. The reverse is true if you’re dealing with a tornado where roofs and upper floors are often most in jeopardy.
- Fill your car with gas should you need to leave.
- Be tuned in to your local news and listen for instruction. Obey it. There is zero glory in “riding out” a storm when the smart thing is to evacuate. Find another way to get a cool video on YouTube.
- Let family and / or friends know where you are and what your plan is.
- Make sure all doors and windows are closed and as secured as possible.
- Turn off and unplug any unnecessary electronics in the home, especially if water damage is a concern.
- Bring your emergency kit and family (including any pets, unless that pet is a horrible cat) to the safest spot in your home. In the case of a tornado, this is the basement away any windows. For a flooding or hurricane situation, listen for specific instructions, but you’ll likely want to get to a higher floor away from windows.
- Tune into local news, radio or even social media for updates and respond accordingly.
- Stay calm, keep positive, and hug each other (do this even when there isn’t a storm on the way!).