Every year, the Midwest, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the Eastern Seaboard brace themselves for tornadoes and hurricanes. But just as dangerous as the storms themselves is being completely unprepared for them. Here’s how to be safe when the weather turns bad.
1. Keep An Eye on Weather Reports
While you don’t have to constantly check the weather, it’s a good idea to be aware of potential issues before they become a hazard. Make a point to check the forecast, and consider subscribing to online weather alerts so you’ll know what’s coming and what you should do.
2. Have An Evacuation Plan
Lay out a good way to evacuate the area before the bad weather hits; if you can clear away to higher ground before a storm strikes, do so. Make sure everyone in the family is familiar with the plans, and that somebody is appointed to retrieve elderly family members, very young family members, or pets.
3. Clean Out the Garage and Basement
As odd as it sounds, cleaning out the garage and basement are actually useful tasks to take care of before bad weather strikes. It will insure you have plenty of space to store emergency supplies, limit the amount of objects that can be flung around your home, and will allow you to park your car away from the storm instead of outside,
where it can experience the full fury.
4. Prepare Emergency Kits for Car and Home
Always have an emergency kit in your car. Be sure to include rain gear, flashlights, spare batteries, a low-power cell phone or crank charger, an emergency radio, and a multitool or other tool kit. Also consider including a water source and dehydrated food if you believe rescue might be difficult. Have a similar kit at home in a safe, but easy to reach, place.
5. Install Wind-Proof Shutters
Being able to keep the wind out of your home will help make it secure. Wind-proof shutters in particular will mean less chance of your home being damaged, and a reduced cost of whatever damage does occur.
6. Consider Safety Window Films
Shattered windows can be dangerous to both people living in a home and those outside of it. Safety films applied to the windows will allow windows to keep their integrity or, if they break, to break safely with limited amounts of shrapnel.
7. Put Back-Up Generators Into Place
Emergency standby generators can guarantee you have power during and after a weather disaster. Consider installing at least one, and be sure to discuss with your installer where to put it so that it won’t be damaged by flooding or wind.
8. Look Into Emergency Pumps
You may be able to install emergency pumps to help keep your home from flooding and reduce damage. Contact a pump installer to ask about your options.
9. Prepare A “Go-Bag”
Aside from your emergency kit, you may need to bring along items like medications or food you have in the house that it may not make sense to include in a kit. So if a weather warning appears, take a moment to put together a small collection of supplies that you can take with you if you have to leave your home.
10. Review Safe Behavior
Be sure that everyone in your family knows what to do in an emergency, and also that you yourself know what to do. Having it set firmly in your head helps reduce panic.
Above all, put safety first. Focus on that, and you and your family will be best served.