There are two main things to worry about when a tropical storm or hurricane comes through: high winds causing flying debris and rain and the storm surge flooding your home. Both aspects of the storm can be devastating to homeowners in coastal areas who stand to lose their belongings and their houses in just a few hours.
While you can’t guarantee that your home will be protected from a storm, you can take steps to secure everything in your control. Follow these steps to mitigate the effects of storm damage.
Protect your electrical system from the elements.
Your electrical system is your lifeline and source of comfort during the storm. It keeps your air conditioning running and preserves the food in your refrigerator. You can’t control when the city power lines go down, but you can protect the wires in your house.
Ahead of the storm season, call an electrician to evaluate your home. Different electricians will have specialties based on your area. For example, Albuquerque electricians will be able to help you prepare for flash floods, while Tampa electricians can offer advice on hurricane preparedness and humidity.
You need to get any electrical service done before a storm hits; that way, you don’t lose power or face a fire risk.
Identify the most high-risk items in your home.
Ahead of a storm, look around your home and yard to determine the most important items to protect. While it may be frustrating to replace a patio table, it’s not nearly as expensive as replacing a car.
Make sure the most important items are secured. This could mean storing your car in a friend’s garage or bringing items from the outside into your living area. The first time you go through this process might be overwhelming, but many locals have years of experience with large storms and will be eager to help.
After the storm passes, evaluate your property damage. What items did you miss? What hazards need to be secured differently? Keep these notes in mind as they will be key steps to help avoid damage during the next storm.
Start planning during the dry season.
Don’t wait until there is a hurricane watch in your area to create a plan. During a major storm, people start to panic. This is why you see videos of Americans fighting over generators or frantically grabbing water jugs at the last minute.
The time to prepare for a storm is in early spring. Put together an emergency kit of non-perishable food items that can last you two weeks (you can donate these to a food bank after the storm season ends). Make sure you have flashlights with extra batteries and little conveniences like portable fans and puzzles to stay entertained. You may even want to invest in plywood to cover your windows from debris caused by high winds.
When the severe storm is getting closer, pull together items like your passports and birth certificates so they won’t get lost in the floodwaters. Having these on hand will be useful in the event of an evacuation.
Listen to local government agencies.
Follow the guidelines of your local leaders ahead of a storm. Know when you need to evacuate because of a hurricane and when you need to seek shelter because of high winds.
Ahead of storm season, these agencies will likely distribute checklists and best practices ahead of a storm. By following these, you can make sure your home is protected and your family is safe.
There’s no reason to panic when there’s a hurricane watch in your area. If you take steps now to protect your home from debris and water hazards, then you should be able to ride out the storm safely.
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