There are several smart steps we should all take to prepare ourselves and our families for the next major storm, whether it’s a winter storm or a hurricane. When a big hurricane, rainstorm, or snowstorm approaches, the last thing we want to worry about is whether our homes and families will make it through safely.
By taking a few steps today, you can hunker down when the big one hits knowing that all of the emergency essentials are covered and you’ve done all you can to ensure your comfort and safety in a storm. This checklist covers some of the key disaster preparedness steps you should take before this winter’s storm season approaches.
Storm safety tips
The first thing you’ll want to do is establish an emergency plan. Make sure your family knows what your safe place is, how to get there, how to contact each other, and what to do in case of various emergency situations.
Second, you’ll want to stock your home with an emergency supply kit. A good survival kit includes:
- A 2 week supply of water
- Ready to eat, non-perishable food for your whole family and pets
- Essential medication
- Change of clothes
- Blankets and sleeping bags for everyone
- First aid kit
- Flashlights and radio with extra batteries
- Plastic tarp and tools
How to prepare for a power outage
With storms come power outages. Although most outages are restored within a couple hours, even the briefest outage will remind us of all the ways that we take electricity for granted.
If you’re facing the possibility of a power outage that may last more than one day, you’ll want to consider some of the less obvious ways that a power outage affects you:
- Gas pumps won’t work, so make sure to fill your tank up in advance.
- ATMs and credit card machines also won’t work, so it’s a good idea to have some cash accessible.
- Cell phones and cordless phones will lose battery life. If possible, have at least one traditional analog phone that doesn’t require electricity to operate.
- Avoid opening the fridge unnecessarily so food lasts longer. Food will generally stay cold for about 4 hours in an unopened refrigerator. First, eat perishable food from the refrigerator, and then from the freezer.
- Make sure you have a supply of non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking, like canned food, jerky and granola bars.
- If anyone in your home depends on electrically operated life support equipment, call your utility in advance so they can make a note on your account and contact you in advance of major storm
Protect your home
By preparing your home for a storm, you can minimize damage and expenses when the big one hits. You may want to consider adding flood or homeowners insurance if your home to minimize costs of repairing damage. In addition, protect your property by:
- Installing hurricane shutters on each window
- Establishing a safe room that can withstand high winds and debris
- Bolting or strapping heavy furniture to the walls
- Bracing your garage door to keep it from flying away
For more info, check out these helpful tips and guides for preparing your home and family for a major storm:
- Ready.gov’s emergency plan guidelines: http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- Allstate’s 6 tips to prepare for a hurricane: http://www.mnn.com/family/protection-safety/sponsor/6-tips-to-prepare-for-a-hurricane
- Redcross’s winter storm preparedness tips: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm