Ready or not, the heat is here! And with warm weather comes the threat of unpredictable weather, including potentially dangerous summer storms. Granted, no one can control the forecast – but there are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re ready for anything that comes our way.
With that in mind, in today’s blog we’ll be highlighting some of the best things you can do to prepare for extreme weather – in the summer or otherwise!
Have An Emergency Plan
Once you’ve lived somewhere for a while, you’ve probably gotten the hang of most of the severe weather threats that can impact your area. If you’re brand new to the area, you may want to check out these sites to determine what dangerous weather you could face:
- FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) – Flooding
- NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) – Hurricanes
- NWS (National Weather Service) – Tornadoes, Thunderstorms, Hurricanes, Floods/Flash Floods, Fire, and Tsunamis
- CDC (Center for Disease Control) – Tornados
Once you know what type of severe weather you might be up against, it’s easier to plan appropriately. For example, in areas that are subject to high winds and tornadoes, you and your family should identify a “safe room” – an interior or basement room with strong overhead supports.
Create An Emergency Kit
Having an emergency kit isn’t just for the end of the world – it’s a great way to consolidate everything you and your family would need to survive for 72 hours if something happened to your home. First things first – how should your kit be packed? Waterproof, lidded buckets are a great option, because the contents won’t be damaged in the event of flooding. Backpacks, duffel bags, or even oversized plastic tote containers make a viable alternative depending on the needs of your family.
Your emergency kit should contain enough essentials to get you through at least 72 hours, including…
- Food. Food choices should be nutrient- and calorie-dense, with a long shelf life. Jerky, granola, and canned/dehydrated foods make for good options.
- Water. A good emergency kit will contain 1-2 gallons of fresh, clean water per person, per day. Your kit should also contain water purification tablets or portable filters, in case your water supply runs out.
- Clothing. Warm, dry, and durable clothing should be a priority – one set for each person, with extra underwear and socks. An extra pair of shoes and other outerwear are also a good idea.
- Bedding. Thermal blankets are awesome because of how lightweight they are, but all-weather sleeping bags are also a great choice for comfort.
- Sanitation. Toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and diapers (if needed) are all critical items to have at your disposal in the event of a disaster.
- First Aid Kit/Medication. Make sure you have the basics for first aid – bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain killers, and a field guide to help you treat wounds or conditions you aren’t familiar with. You’ll also want to have backups of any required prescriptions you or your family members take.
- Other. Light cooking gear, such as camp stoves or sterno containers are nice to have in case of a long-lasting emergency. Other toiletries, such as a toothbrush, hairbrush/comb, etc. can help keep you feeling clean and hygienic. And an emergency radio is a great idea, especially one that has a built-in flashlight.
Prepare Your Home
There are plenty of temporary adaptations you can make to your house on the fly to help prevent damage in case of imminent severe weather. Installing plywood over windows, for example, can help prevent glass being broken by flying debris.
That said, if you live in an area that is routinely subject to a certain type of problematic weather, you may want to consider making more permanent modifications. Instead of using plywood to protect your windows, you might consider having heavy duty shutters installed – they are more protective in the long run, and less likely to fly off in high winds. Contacting a trusted, local professional who can help prepare you and your home may be a valuable investment – and you can contact your local emergency management for recommendations.
And of course, make sure that you speak with your insurance representative to ensure that your house is covered. For example, many standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flood damage – so if you move to an area that floods regularly, you’ll want to discuss flood insurance with your agent.