Storm Preparation 101

Unlike some natural disasters, storms are often predictable; so it pays to know the basics of storm preparation.

By making the necessary preparations against a potential disaster, you can often avoid spending boatloads of money in the aftermath. So in this article, we’ll take a quick at things you should do to secure your property, and personal safety, against expected storm damage.

Distant Early Warning

It goes without saying that you can’t prepare for every natural disaster; some of Mother Nature’s tantrums don’t offer any advance warning. Case in point: the East Coast quake of Fall 2011. Storms, however, are usually somewhat predictable… though admittedly, we haven’t quite gotten tornadoes down yet.

There are certain steps you can take to make any storm less likely to hurt you or yours. First of all, keep an eye on the weather news, just in case.

If you live in an area prone to storms, you should definitely keep at least one emergency kit containing batteries, flashlights, an emergency radio, clean water, toiletries, duplicate medications, and the like somewhere in your home where you can easily reach it. It can’t hurt to keep another in your auto.

Storm Specific Preparations

If you know or suspect you’re in for a blow, here are a few things you should do to limit wind damage:

Tape up your window glass.
Cover your windows with hurricane shutters or thick plywood.
Trim tree branches away from your house.
Tie down outbuildings, trailers, TV dishes/antennas, woodpiles, boats, fuel tanks, etc.
Secure your garage doors.

If you’re really serious, you can even reinforce your roof with hurricane clips or straps, to make sure it stays on the house. This is more of a long-term preparation, however, the just-in-case kind of thing you do between storms.

Rising Waters

With storms, you’re also likely to experience flooding. Here are a few tips that can help you keep that in hand:

Install a sump pump in your basement or cellar, and make sure it’s regularly checked and maintained.
Raise items in low-lying areas off the floor or ground.
Check to see how you’re situated in terms of local floodplains.
If your area offers a flood preparation plan, get a copy and learn it by heart.
Prepare sandbags as necessary, particularly to protect doors and windows

You can’t account for everything, but these storm preparation tasks can help you literally weather the storm with a minimum of damage.