As temperatures continue to increase around the country, the likelihood for severe weather increases too. Hurricanes, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash flooding all threaten homes and communities during the warmer months. The good news is that you can be prepared by taking proactive steps now to protect your family and home when Mother Nature takes a wild turn.
Weatherproof Your Home
- Inspect trees for potential hazards. Strong winds can cause trees and branches to fall – and potentially damage your home. Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to prevent these flying objects.
- Clear clogged gutters and downspouts. Make sure that heavy rain can easily run through the gutters and downspouts. Otherwise, it will spill over the sides and land in areas where it can soak through to your home’s foundation, causing flooding and structural damage. You should also check to make sure your gutters are securely fastened to your home.
- Secure all doors. If you live in an area that frequently gets heavy storms, consider installing steel entry doors. High winds can easily tear through double doors, French doors and sliding patio doors that have no structural support between the two sides. You may need to purchase and install special hardware to more adequately secure the doors where they meet. Try bolts that fasten the door into the framing at the top and the bottom.
- Check your roof. A strong roof is essential for your house to withstand a severe storm. Apply sealing around your home’s chimney or vent pipes. This will help prevent water from seeping into your home. Hire a contractor to check the structural integrity of your roof system.
Create an Emergency Supply Kit
An emergency supply kit will help you with any type of natural disaster, especially if you are in your home without electricity or if you are forced to evacuate your home. Your kit should contain:
- Three-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food
- Battery-operated radio
- Flashlights, with extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Prescription medicines
- Pet supplies
- Important family documents
For more ideas on stocking your emergency supply kit, visit www.ready.gov.
Develop a Family Communications Plan
Since your family may not all be together when an emergency occurs, it’s important for everyone to know your communication plan. Ready.gov recommends choosing one family member for everyone to contact. Make sure children know their parents’ cell phone numbers. It’s also helpful to send text messages, as they are more likely to go through than phone calls during an emergency. Parents should also know the emergency plans in place at their children’s day care and schools.
Your family should also have a meeting place if you are forced to evacuate your home. This includes a spot in your neighborhood and a place to meet if your neighborhood is evacuated. Practice evacuation drills during the day and at night so that everyone knows where to go.