How to Prepare for a Bad Storm or Natural Disaster
We’ve talked in our blog before about tornado safety, but tornadoes are not the only type of severe weather you may encounter. Extreme conditions can include a range of storm types, from flash floods to hail storms to blizzards. While these storms can vary in severity, it’s important to be prepared for anything that may happen. Having some basic supplies and other preparations ahead of time can be the difference between life and death.
Use our tips to stay informed, make a plan, and — most importantly — remain safe in an emergency. When it comes to general storm and disaster preparation, here are some guidelines to follow before the storm comes.
Secure Loose Outdoor Objects
It’s common for a storm to bring strong winds. Therefore, a lot of items in your yard could become flying projectiles in a storm. The best way to prevent this is to store these objects safely. Items such as lawn furniture, garbage cans, patio umbrellas, potted plants and children’s toys should be secured inside. For things that are too dangerous to keep indoors, like propane grills, tie them down securely. When the wind gets really strong, securing these loose outdoor items can make your situation a lot safer.
Secure Important Documentation and Paperwork
Important documents like insurance policies, passports, deeds, marriage certificates and birth certificates should be placed in a secured lockbox. Make sure that you can reach this box easily if you need to evacuate. Also, it’s wise to store a set of spare keys and any valuable jewelry in a secure waterproof container.
Handle Windows and Shutters
In some severe cases, it may be necessary to cover windows and batten down your shutters. If you anticipate a lot of wind, it’s important to prevent shutters from blowing off and windows from being broken. You can prepare your shutters by tightening loose bolts or screwing them shut.
Be Careful Where You Park
It matters where you’re parked during a big storm. Parking under or near a large tree is never a good idea. If the weather gets severe enough, the wind could blow a limb, branches or the entire tree down on your car. Instead, pick a spot where your car will not be hit by falling debris. If you have a garage, park your car inside before the storm hits.
Prepare for a Power Outage
Storms with strong winds can knock out power for long stretches of time. Before the storm hits, make sure you have plenty of flashlights. Also, take the time to charge up your cell phone, because you may not be able to charge it again for several days. As you stay up to date on weather forecasts and alerts, it’s important to know how to safely shut off your home’s utilities. In the event of a severe storm, your local disaster officials may instruct you to shut off water and gas supply lines to avoid further damage.
Emergency Preparedness: Food and Water
When it comes to emergency preparation, you can’t forget the essentials. If you know a big storm is approaching, gather up all necessities, such as peanut butter, crackers, granola bars and cereal. Make sure this food is not expired.
Stock up on bottled water. You should have enough to provide each family member 1 gallon of drinking water each day for three days at a minimum. Filling up your bathtub with water is a good idea as well. Don’t forget food, water and medication for your pets!
Prepare An Emergency Kit
In the wake of a natural disaster, local officials and emergency personnel will be on scene, but they may not be able to reach you immediately. Thus, you need to have the necessary things on hand to help you survive until help arrives. Experts recommend having an emergency kit prepared that will help you survive for 3 days. Set aside medications and other supplies such as spare clothes, candles and matches in an easy-to-reach location. If your emergency supplies are not located in an area that you can reach during a storm, move them before the storm hits.
After the Storm
After a severe storm passes, it’s important to take some precautions. First, if your home has been damaged, walk carefully around the outside and check for things like loose power lines, gas leaks, and general structural damage. Call your insurance agent and take pictures of the damage to your home or vehicle.
Additionally, you should avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you’re certain it’s not contaminated. If you’re able, let friends and family know that you’re safe. A Facebook “I’m Safe” post is a good option for major crisis situations. Finally, if the destruction is extensive, don’t panic. The American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies will arrive with food and water, and FEMA will provide temporary housing.
Severe Weather Safety With Stronghold Safe Rooms
Weather is unpredictable, and we can’t stop a storm. All we can do is prepare. Knowing what to do in a storm can save your life. If you follow these steps, you and your family will be ready the next time severe weather strikes.
It’s critical to be prepared, and you and your family need a safe place to be during a disaster. One of the best safety tools you can have is a storm shelter. Stronghold Safe Rooms provides strong, reliable storm shelters to keep you safe in case of emergency. Contact us today for more information about our safe rooms, and read more of our blogs for additional safety tips.