Storm Preparation Tips: Don't Be Caught Unprepared

November 1, 2012

After the pummeling the East Coast has taken from the "Frankenstorm," the importance of having a plan and being storm ready can't be emphasized enough. In severe storms prepare for the worst and hope for the best is standard operating procedure. Here are some quick easy tips to keep you from being caught unaware. Fill Her Up - Your car needs more than just gas in an emergency:
  • Make sure your car is full of gas and ready to go in the case of emergency evacuation.
  • Know where your cell phone charger is and if you don't have one, get one. This may be your only way to keep your phone charged and stay in emergency contact in the event of a power outage.
  • Keep extra bottled water in your car just in case you need to leave in a hurry.
  • Make sure your emergency kit in your car is stocked. At a minimum have road flares, jumper cables or a battery charger, spare wiper blades, flashlight, and first aid kit.
  • Consider having warm blankets, tool kit, and canned goods that are easy to grab in the case of an evacuation.
Prepare You Fridge - Power outages can cost you hundreds of dollars in lost food:
  • If you have warning of an impending storm, try not to stock up on perishables. Instead think canned goods that are easy to eat cold or fruits and veggies that don't need to be in the refrigerator.
  • Fill up Ziplock bags with water and throw them in the freezer ahead of the storm, or buy bags of ice. A full freezer will stay colder longer. This can help preserve your food for up to 72 hours.
Stock up on Water - Water can be important in several ways:
  • In some areas water is fed to your home by electric pumps. In the case of a power outage, you could find that you have no water for basic needs like flushing toilets.
  • Storm surge, rivers overflowing their beds, and other situations can temporarily silt up or contaminate water tables. Having an alternative to drink from tap water may become important.
  • Fill all bathtubs with water so you have fresh water both in the event you need to use it for toilet flushing, and for drinking. Fill up pots and pans as well if need be.
  • Think about the long-term needs of fresh water for your pets as well.
  • Buy bottled water to keep on hand for an emergency.
  Batten Down the Hatches - In high winds flying projectiles can become dangerous to your property and others.
  • Move all patio furniture and grills into garages, basements, or secure them against the outside of the home in a way that they can't blow around.
  • Check the security of shutters and consider taking them down until the storm passes if high winds are predicted.
  • If you are going to trim dead branches or problem areas, make sure debris is safely removed well ahead of the storm. No need to trim back trees only to create potential flying projectiles.
Move to Higher Ground - If you are in a flood plain have a plan for your valuables.
  • Make sure to move items off of lower levels.
  • Put lower level furniture or garage storage items up on blocks.
  • Make sure you have a working sump pump for basements.
  • Take pictures of your valuables on lower levels just in case there is water damage later.
  • Put important documents such as passports, insurance information, etc. into a waterproof pouch for easy grab and go if you need to evacuate your home.
The Basics - There are standard things to check ahead of a storm:
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of batteries, flashlights, candles, and other essentials that will get you through a short loss of power.
  • Have a radio that works on battery power on hand so you can stay abreast of news and information.
  • Keep your essential electronics charged, including your cell phone.
  • If you have a landline, make sure you have an old school phone that plugs directly into the jack and is not a cordless headset. These often don't work in the event of a power failure yet the phone lines can still be in working order depending on whether or not your phone lines are digital. (It's always good to know what will and won't work in the event of lost electricity)
Have Cash Will Travel - If conditions are bad enough that your power is down, chances are ATM's and credit card machines may be down as well. Make sure to have cash on hand ahead of the storm. Some People Like Generators - If you have a generator or purchase a generator, know how to hook it up, fuel it, check it, and keep it going. Basic yes, but many people don't look at the generator (Or the directions) until they are already in the throws of a storm. Know Where Shelters are for Both Pets and People - If you have to evacuate your home, you may not be able to find hotels that will take in your pets in the event of an emergency. Make sure you locate emergency pet shelters in case you need one. Having an emergency plan ahead of time, well before a storm is even on the horizon, will help alleviate family stress. Homes and things are replaceable. People and pets are not. These few tips should help alleviate your stress in bad weather.
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