Severe Storm Preparedness: A Guide for Keeping Your Family Safe

With warm weather often comes severe storms, with hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes sweeping many areas in the US. These storms can cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage to businesses and homes and even a loss of life, so it’s important to learn how to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Knowing how to act quickly and having a good plan might just save your life, or at the very least protect your home from severe damage.

It’s a good idea to do some research on the area you live in and what kind of weather you can expect, especially during the volatile months of spring and summer. In states where the days are hot well into fall, remember that storms can pop up even late into the year. Keep an emergency box full of items you might need should you have to leave your home at the last minute and talk to your family members about the best ways to stay prepared.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started courtesy of Flint: Our Community, Our Voice.

Prepare Your Home

While you may not be able to completely disaster-proof your home, there are some actions you can take to help it sustain less damage should severe weather hit. For example, trimming back trees that are near your home ensures heavy branches won’t fall on your roof or through your windows in heavy winds. Dead trees at risk of falling on or near your home should be removed completely. Angi tree service data notes that it usually costs between $50 and $1,500 to remove a tree, and while this is no small price, it’s much less than you’d pay to repair damage caused to your home by a downed trunk or limbs.

You should also inspect your roof for damage to minimize the chances of a leak during heavy rainfall. If any shingles are missing or in bad shape, call a professional to address the issue as quickly as possible. Similarly, ensure your windows don’t have any cracks in them and are properly sealed to keep water from finding its way inside your home.

Stock Up

Having the right supplies is a big part of being prepared for severe storms. If you have a basement or storm cellar, keep it stocked with bottled water, blankets, flashlights, fresh batteries, a hand-crank radio, and non-perishable snacks. Have a box or bag handy that you can throw necessities into, such as medication and cell phones.

If you live in an area where flooding is prevalent, it’s important to make sure you can get to higher ground immediately, so keeping 1 (or more) box/”go bag” full of all the things you’ll need in case of an evacuation is critical. Ponchos, road flares, emergency cash, shoes for every family member, driver’s licenses, house keys, extra car keys, insurance cards, cell phones and charger, power strip, address book with phone numbers as a backup to your phone, prescription information, info cards with important information for the pockets of every family member if separated, and extra medication is a great place to start. These emergency kits save essential time and makes it easy to say to all in your household; “We’re ready! Here’s what we will do if necessary.” On your way out you can grab it and go.

Stay on Top of the Weather

No matter what time of year it is, it’s important to keep an eye on the weather around you. Hurricanes can have devastating effects pretty far inland, so don’t just rely on your local weather forecast; check up on what’s going on in the South, too. You can stay updated via the NOAA website. This is also a great resource to learn about climate data and what’s happening in the oceans.

Keep the Kids Entertained

When the storm starts to crank up, your little ones may get scared, especially if the power goes out. Look for ways you can help them stay entertained and calm by planning fun family activities. If you have a large open area, such as a basement that is free of clutter and trip hazards, suggest they play a game of flashlight hide-and-seek.

Make a Plan for the Family

It’s important to talk to your family about the plan well before you actually need to execute it. For instance, if a flood occurs and you need to evacuate quickly, what will you do if your family is split up? Where will you meet? If a tornado suddenly spins into your neighborhood, every family member should know where to go and what they need to grab, if anything.

Being prepared for severe weather is a necessity for many families across the US, especially as increasingly climate-related emergencies occur that put thousands of people out of their homes and create millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Knowing how to keep your loved ones safe will give you peace of mind as we move through the warm months.

For more great advice on how to thrive in our community, check out Flint: Our Community, Our Voice.

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