When bad weather is on the horizon, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect your home and belongings. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for inclement weather.
- Check your roof for damage and repair as needed.
Be sure to check around chimneys, skylights, and any other areas that may be susceptible to damage. From the outside, look for broken shingles, sunken areas, and misaligned or hanging gutters. On the inside, inspect your ceilings for cracks or bulging areas. If you see any damage that needs to be repaired, contact a roofing contractor as soon as possible.
- Clean out your gutters and downspouts.
Leaves and other debris can clog your gutters and prevent them from properly draining away from your house. Clogged gutters can collect large amounts of stormwater and cause significant damage to your siding, foundation, doors, windows, eaves, and soffits. Make sure drain spouts are able to carry water at least 3 feet away from the sides of the building to prevent water damage.
- Inspect your exterior paint.
Be sure to spot-check your siding, trim, doors, windows, and foundation for peeling or cracking paint. Although inspecting the exterior of your home may not be a priority during mild weather, doing so now can help you avoid bigger problems during extreme weather conditions such as heavy winds and ice storms.
- Stock up on food, water, batteries, flashlights, candles, and other supplies.
Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food and water to last for at least 72 hours, as well as a working flashlight and batteries. Be sure to purchase a few extra batteries and keep them in a dry, cool place just in case. Candles can serve as an alternative light source but be sure to extinguish all candles once you are done. Note: Electricity may not be available for several hours or even days after a storm, so it is important to plan ahead and have a battery-powered radio on hand in case you need to get updates from the authorities. Charge up your phones, have a solar power system installed, and keep power banks near you.
- Remove dead or diseased trees and shrubs that could fall during high winds.
Keep an eye on weak, dead, or diseased trees and remove them as soon as possible. Be sure to hire a professional if you think the tree has major damage such as significant root exposure or rot in the trunk. Before removing any tree, check for nests (or anything else that may threaten public health) and keep your distance from tall trees as branches can fall without warning.
- Bring in outdoor furniture and decorations.
Lashing from the wind, driving rain, or ice can damage outdoor furniture and decorations. If you have a wood deck or fence, inspect them for any damage that may be hiding underneath your furniture and plan on bringing all of it inside before the storm hits. Be sure to put the patio furniture away in a covered area such as a garage or shed.
- Create a safe room in your house so it’s easier to stay indoors.
When bad weather hits, stay inside and avoid windows. That way you won’t have to worry about flying debris or shattered glass. If possible, create a safe room in your home such as a bathroom by reinforcing the walls with studs and adding safety locks to the door. This will be your command center so make sure you fill it up with plenty of supplies. Build a storm shelter if necessary.
- Prepare your pets and livestock for bad weather.
Caring for your four-legged (and winged) friends is extremely important during severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or ice storms. Be sure to bring in all outdoor pets and livestock into a sturdy building like a barn, garage, basement or shed. If there is no such building nearby, bring pets and livestock indoors to a safe room like the one mentioned above. Keep your dogs on a leash or in a kennel unless you are sure that they will be able to stay calm during extreme weather conditions; if needed, consider giving them prescription medication for anxiety and/or seizures.
- Park your car in the garage or driveway to protect it from hail or snow.
Be sure to clear your car of all snow or leaves so it doesn’t get caked in ice during a freezing rainstorm. If possible, park the car in a garage or on a driveway if one is available to protect it from hail and heavy rains.
- Know when to evacuate.
If your home is in an area that requires mandatory evacuation during bad weather, be sure to plan ahead. Gather together important documents, cash, and other essential supplies so you can leave quickly if it becomes necessary. Your emergency kit should have everything you need in case you are stranded at home or have to seek shelter elsewhere.
Preparing your home for inclement weather can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 10 things to do before the storm hits so you don’t have to worry about anything else when disaster strikes. These are all important steps that need to be taken for your own safety.