Four out of five Americans live in counties that have experienced a recent weather disaster, but only 40% have prepared for a storm.
With vicious storms such as hurricanes, heavy rains, or accumulating snowfall, it’s in your best interest to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to navigate through a potentially deadly situation.
Do you or your family know how to prepare for a storm? Do you know what an evacuation plan entails, or how to best protect your home?
Keep you and your property safe and consult our storm preparation guide to ready yourself before disaster strikes.
You’ll be glad you did.
1. Know How to Prepare for a Storm with an Evacuation Plan
Every region has its own environmental risks from hurricanes near the gulf coast to frequent flooding in the midwest. Familiarize yourself with the most likely weather conditions that could one day impact your community.
In case of fire or flash flooding, you should know every exit and escape route from your home, including doors and windows, and test them often.
But once you and your family have evacuated your home, what’s the next step?
Consult your county and city resources to accustom yourself to nearby emergency shelters, and plan a safe and accessible meeting location in case your family is separated in the event of a sudden storm.
Note that since most emergency shelters do not allow pets other than service animals, you may also want to search for nearby hotels that could accommodate your family pet during an evacuation.
Ensure your pet receives regular checkups and is completely vaccinated, as it may be near other animals in an emergency situation.
Everyone in your household should be informed of the evacuation plan and know what their personal responsibilities would include, if any.
Keep all your important paperwork and personal documents, such as house insurance information, in a secure, portable, and weatherproof container, or in the safekeeping of a bank’s safe-deposit box.
During stormy seasons when natural disasters are more likely, stay informed with television, radio, or internet notifications.
Keeping up to date with potential weather conditions will keep you and your family ahead of the storm.
Refresh yourself on the information in your evacuation plan, even during months of calm weather, so you’ll remember what to do in case of an emergency weather situation.
2. Create a Survival Kit
Planning for a storm is only half the battle. Do you know how to prepare for a hurricane or a flood?
What do you do if you and your family are trapped in your home without power for multiple days?
This is why it’s important to always have a readily-accessible survival kit somewhere in your home at all times.
Your survival kit should have enough food to last for up to two weeks while at home or three days in case of an evacuation. Pack non-perishable food items, such as canned vegetables and beans, and easy-to-store grains such as cereal, oatmeal, and rice.
Along with food, prepare a daily gallon of water per person. A two-week survival kit for a family of three should contain 42 gallons of water!
A survival kit should contain more items than simply food and water — though they’re arguably the most important.
It should also have an extensive first-aid kit in case an injury occurs while trapped at home or on the road.
Additionally, bring at least one source of battery-powered light and a wind-up or battery-powered radio. While your home’s power is off, you’ll want to be able to access NOAA or a local station and stay updated on the path of the storm and the current recovery effort.
The final indispensable item? Cash. If your area is hit hard by a storm, stores may be open but they may be without power or the ability to swipe your credit or debit cards. Keep a stash of cash on-hand.
Some other items in your survival kit might include:
- Pet food, leashes, and harnesses
- Sanitary provisions and toiletries
- Games and books
- Extra clothes
- Blankets and sleeping bags
3. Prepare Your Home
Everyone is familiar with the devastation a storm can leave behind. But with general maintenance and home improvements, you can bolster your home’s storm defenses.
Keep your house in good shape by maintaining the roofing, basement seals, and repairing termite damage. Also, keep your gutters and drains thoroughly cleaned, and remove tree branches hanging near your house.
This general home maintenance goes a long way toward reducing the potential damage of heavy rains and storms.
If you live in a floodplain or low-lying area, you may want to consider flood insurance to protect your property. If so, check out this guide to find the best flood insurance for you.
When a storm is approaching, fill all the tubs and sinks in your house with clean water. This can help your survival kit go farther.
You’ll also want to turn off your utilities, such as power and gas, and bring your outdoor furniture inside the house. If there’s still time, bring your possessions to a higher level of the house to prevent flood damage.
You might also consider having your home elevated to reduce flood damage, or using sang bags or flood walls to create a barrier and keep the rising waters from infiltrating your home.
Need More Advice?
Now that you know how to prepare for a storm, you may be craving more health and wellness tips. If so, check out our health and wellness blog for more articles that could improve or even save your life.