Whether you’re listening to emergency management or meteorologists on national news, the watchword for storm season is preparation. These ten suggestions will help you position yourself to best wait out the storms as well as you possibly can.
Secure Loose House Parts
In an ordinary spring breeze, a loose shutter seems kind of quaint. In severe weather, it’s a repair bill and even a potential projectile. Check around your house as storm season approaches, looking for things that need to be tightened or fastened before bad weather arrives. Shingles, siding, gutters, and much more can quickly tear away without your attention.
Gather Essentials for Property Preservation
There’s always a chance that a storm will damage your home, so plan now to preserve your home. Invest in some heavy duty tarps to cover holes in the roof or damaged walls. Get smaller plastic drop cloths for use inside. Consider investing in a wet/dry vac to protect flooring, and make sure you have fasteners to hold everything down.
Equip Yourself for Utility Control
After a storm, you may have damage to your home that requires you to disconnect utilities. Make sure you have a clear path to your breaker box and teach everyone in the home how to throw the main breaker. Gather emergency numbers for water and gas providers, and buy meter shutoff tools for each.
Protect Insurance Information and Contacts
The sooner you call your insurance company after a loss, the sooner your claim will be paid. That’s especially true if the same company has multiple claims from a single weather event. Find a secure place to keep a copy of your full policy and the company’s 24-hour number for claims.
Trim or Remove Problem Trees
Trees cause lots of damage during storms, but much of it is preventable. Talk to an arborist about which limbs and trees may need to be removed to minimize the threat they pose to your home. It could save you thousands of dollars.
Check Sump Pump
If your home has a basement, it may also have a sump pump to remove water that accumulates under the basement floor. If this system is not working properly, your basement can flood. Manually trigger the float switch to make sure the pump comes on, then check the discharge pipe to make sure it’s clear of obstructions.
Clean and Examine Drainage Systems
Speaking of water, review all the runoff management at your home. Make sure that gutters are clean for maximum flow. Clear their downspouts of leaves and other debris, then check the discharge points to make sure water will flow away from the house. Check any storm sewer drains on your property and along the street.
Prepare a Disaster Kit
In the first 48 hours or so after a major storm, you may not have access to the things you normally take for granted, such as electricity, running water, and even clear roadways. Stores may be closed or out of stock of critical items. To keep this situation from becoming a crisis, put together a disaster kit for your family that covers essential needs during the early days after severe weather.
Consider a Backup Generator
A brief power outage is a hassle, but a longer one can be dangerous or even deadly. If you have family members with health concerns, or if you simply don’t want to lose perishable foods or sleep in a hot house, consider having a backup generator installed to maintain power for essential home functions until utilities are restored.
If your roof leaks, you have probably already been planning to deal with it. However, many other types of leaks can cause problems during severe weather. Window trim, thresholds, door facings, and even outdoor electrical receptacles may have small leaks that aren’t a problem until extreme weather hits. Check everything over and tighten things up to minimize the impact of intense rain.
We cannot control the weather, but we can control our preparation for it and our response to it. The more you do before the clouds gather, the better off you’ll be as the skies open up. These simple steps will get you ready for storm season and provide you with peace of mind before, during, and after bad weather.