In Tips & Advice, Your Home

Be Prepared When Severe Weather Strikes

House in the midst of a bad storm

There were 10 softball-sized holes in my roof. Hail stones 4.5+ inches thick had crashed into my attic. Water was dripping from the air vents onto the floor.

It was Monday, April 11, 2016. An intense supercell thunderstorm was tracking straight toward my house. The news warned us: “large hail could form with this storm.” They were right, but we weren’t prepared. We were lucky, though, because our damage was minimal compared to the numerous houses in my neighborhood that had to be completely gutted.

You never think massive, damage-inducing storms or natural disasters will hit your house…until they do. And I know that hail storm pales in comparison to the catastrophe that Hurricane Harvey and other recent storms have left in their wake. But the point is: preparation is key.

Below are some suggestions on how you can get ready and respond to dangerous weather.

Plan Ahead

Do you know where shelters are located? Are you familiar with the roads and highways to escape a storm? These are just a few things to know before “emergency-mode” sets in. You can also make arrangements with family or friends — choose people for whom you’ll return the favor. Keep a written list of phone numbers of people you know you can rely on.

Emergency Kit

Every home should have an emergency kit. It’s easy and inexpensive to create your own. You can get these at your local hardware store or big box retailer. In addition to any special personal supplies you might need, the basic items every emergency kit should have include:

  • Gallon of water per person, per day (stored separately)
  • Canned or nonperishable food
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Mobile phone cords
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Pet supplies, food
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Toiletries, soap
  • Source of fire
  • Blankets
  • Extra cash

I would also highly recommend having multiple tarps available in an emergency situation. You can put them on roofs or over broken windows to cover and limit additional water damage.

Winter Storm Preparation

Winter storms can wreak havoc on your home and your property. Whether it’s frigid, pipe-bursting temperatures or blizzard-like conditions, it’s up to you to protect what’s yours. When a winter storm is forecasted, it’s important to winterize your home and your vehicles — meaning, make sure your equipment is working and your supplies (food, water, warm clothes, tools, etc.) are stocked.

There’s a lot more that goes into preparing for a winter storm. To ensure you’re ready for icy, snowy or freezing temperatures, read this advice on Winter Storm Safety from the American Red Cross.

Hurricane Preparation

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are two recent storms that display just how powerful hurricanes can be. If you’re in a location where hurricanes are prevalent, you know these storms don’t sneak up on you. With days of advance notice, you have time to protect windows and prepare for the worst.

PLYLOX™ window clips are an inexpensive way to protect your windows from high winds and airborne debris. They hold pre-cut plywood boards up against your windows. Don’t wait until the last minute, be prepared and give yourself time. Visit hurricanescience.org for additional tips on how to be safe during a hurricane.

Earthquake Preparation

Unlike many other natural disasters, earthquakes just happen without warning. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, all 50 states are at some risk for earthquakes any time of year. If you’re home when an earthquake occurs, remember to “drop, cover and hold.”

For additional tips on what you can do before, during and after an earthquakes, visit the FEMA website for Earthquake Safety at Home on what you should prepare for before, during and after an earthquake.

Wildfire Preparation

Wildfires are very unpredictable. If there’s one close to your home, you have to remain extremely vigilant. The threat and danger can change in an instant. If an evacuation order is given, go. Leave immediately. You’ll likely already be aware of the potential danger, so you should be prepared.

Farmers Insurance offers these and other essential tips to protect your home against wildfire damage on their website.

Tornado Preparation

If you’re home when a tornado happens, stay away from windows. Get to a basement if you have one. Go to the lowest floor, to a small room in the center of your home like a bathroom or closet, under a stairwell, or even an interior hallway with no windows. You should even cover yourself with couch cushions, pillows or even a mattress.

The Tornado Safety page from NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Predication Center offers important safety tips on what to do during a tornado depending on where you are.

It’s important to educate yourself about the potential weather and natural disaster risks you could face. Preparation is key to protecting yourself, and your home when possible. Should your home ever suffer weather or storm related damage, get in touch with PrimeLending loan officer who can explain the unique PrimeLending loans designed specifically to cover the costs of weather-related damage.

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