When a storm strikes, being prepared is your best defense against its unpredictable forces. Whether it’s a powerful hurricane, a menacing tornado, a relentless tropical storm, or heavy rains causing flooding, having a well-thought-out storm preparedness checklist can make all the difference in ensuring the safety of your loved ones and your property.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through a detailed storm preparedness checklist for each scenario to help keep you and your loved ones protected.
If you’re looking for guidance when it comes to preparing for a hurricane, view our 2023 hurricane survival and preparedness checklist.
How to Prepare for a Big Storm
A big storm can bring a multitude of dangers, making preparation paramount. These extreme weather conditions encompass more than just heavy rainfall and strong winds; they can also involve dangerous elements like tornadoes and hailstorms.
The unpredictability of a big storm means that its impacts can range from moderate to devastating, potentially causing extensive damage to property and posing serious threats to personal safety. This segment will explore the comprehensive measures you can adopt to safeguard yourself and your loved ones from the potential hazards that may arise due to a significant storm.
Make an Emergency Kit
During a big storm, having essential supplies on hand is crucial. Create an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food, bottled water, any necessary medications, flashlights, spare batteries, a well-stocked first aid kit, and important documents such as identification and insurance papers.
This kit should be easily accessible, and you should regularly check and update its contents.
Identify evacuation routes in your area and make sure everyone in your family knows them. Discuss the plan together and agree on a designated meeting point outside your home. Also, don’t forget to consider your pets – have a plan for their evacuation too.
In the event of receiving an evacuation order from emergency authorities, it is important not to disregard it. Gather your survival kit and quickly depart following the evacuation routes recommended by the authorities. It is essential to prioritize your safety and listen to the guidance provided by the authorities.
To safeguard your home, take measures such as reinforcing windows and doors with sturdy materials. Secure or bring inside any outdoor items that could become airborne in high winds. Trim tree branches near your property that could pose a risk during a storm. These steps will help minimize potential damage to your home and surroundings.
In extreme cases, you will want a safe room to protect you and your family.
Staying informed during a big storm is vital. Monitor news stations to stay updated on evacuation notices in your area.
Invest in a battery-operated weather radio or use weather alert apps to receive updates and warnings about the storm’s progress.
Being aware of the storm’s movement and intensity can help you make informed decisions about your safety.
How to Prepare for a Tornado
Tornadoes pose a significant risk to life and property. Preparing adequately for a tornado is not just a matter of safeguarding possessions, but a critical step in ensuring personal safety. In this section, we will outline the key elements of an effective tornado preparedness plan, ensuring you are equipped to face this weather phenomenon.
Have Safe Shelter
Tornadoes can strike suddenly, leaving little time to react. Your safest bet is to find shelter in the lowest level of your home, such as a basement or storm cellar. If these options are unavailable, choose an interior room on the lowest floor, away from windows and exterior walls. Taking cover in these places can significantly reduce the risk of flying debris and other dangers associated with tornadoes.
Staying informed is critical during tornadoes. Sign up for emergency alerts from your local authorities and install weather apps on your smartphone. These apps provide real-time notifications about tornado watches and warnings, giving you valuable time to take cover or evacuate if necessary. It’s also smart to have a radio available to use, and know what radio station covers weather events in your local area
Ensure that you consult both your workplace and your children’s school or daycare center regarding tornado emergency plans. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the designated safe areas in each building and understand the best routes to reach them during an emergency.
Ensure that the locations of your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are clearly marked. Verify that your first-aid kit is adequately stocked with essential medical supplies. Educate your family on basic first aid techniques, fire extinguisher usage, as well as the procedures for turning off water, gas, and electricity in your home.
What are the Signs of a Tornado
Although tornadoes can occur without warning, knowing the possible signs of a tornado can help you take proper precautions to protect yourself and your family in an emergency. Signs include:
- A dark or green colored sky
- Wall clouds or an approaching cloud of debris
- Large hail or strong winds
- A loud roar similar to that of a freight train
- A swirling funnel-shaped cloud that comes from a thunderstorm.
Tropical Storm Preparation
Tropical storms, like hurricanes, are notorious for their unpredictable nature and potential for causing widespread damage. Like the storm events mentioned above, it’s important to prepare in advance for such events to safeguard both your property and personal safety.
Although tropical storms may have lower wind speeds, they should never be underestimated. These storms still have the ability to unleash heavy rainfall, strong winds, and cause localized flooding. It is crucial to recognize their potential impact and take appropriate precautions.
Secure Outdoor Items
Despite lower wind speeds than hurricanes, tropical storms still bring strong enough winds that can cause power outages and property damage. Take the time to secure or bring inside outdoor furniture, grills, and other loose items. This simple step can prevent damage to your property and reduce the risk of injury.
Tropical storms often bring heavy rainfall that can lead to flooding. Elevate electrical appliances and utilities to a level above potential floodwaters. If you’re in a flood zone, consider using sandbags to create barriers that divert water away from your home, helping to minimize the risk of flooding.
As mentioned with all types of storms, staying up-to-date with the latest information is crucial. Regularly monitor local news, weather forecasts, and official advisories. Tropical storms often turn into hurricanes, if authorities issue evacuation orders, be prepared to follow them promptly for your safety and the safety of those around you.
Preparing for Heavy Rain Storms
Heavy rainstorms have the potential to cause sudden flash floods.
A flash flood occurs when rain falls so intensely that it fails to absorb into the ground before reaching streams and rivers. This leads to a rapid rise in water levels, sweeping away everything in its path.
Unfortunately, this can include individuals caught unaware on roads with no warning signs. This can happen very quickly, taking place within a matter of minutes. Make sure to follow these steps to prepare for heavy rain storms:
Clear Drains and Gutters
Heavy rains can lead to water accumulation around your home. To prevent flooding, regularly clear debris from drains and gutters. This allows rainwater to flow freely and reduces the risk of water pooling around your property.
In case of heavy rains and potential flooding, having a list of emergency contacts is essential. Make a list of local authorities, utility companies, insurance providers, and neighbors who you can trust for assistance. Having these numbers readily available can help you take quick action if needed.
During heavy rains, roads can become impassable due to flooding. Identify higher ground in your area and alternative routes you can take if your usual routes are blocked. If you know a road is near a commonly flooded area or a body of water, it’s probably best to avoid. Having this knowledge can help you reach safety without getting caught in dangerous floodwaters.
Avoid Flood Waters
One of the most crucial tips during heavy rains is to avoid floodwaters. It’s impossible to accurately gauge the depth and strength of floodwaters, and even shallow water can pose a risk. Never attempt to drive or walk through flooded areas, as you might be swept away or encounter hidden hazards beneath the water’s surface.
How to Prepare for a Hail storm
Preparing for a hailstorm involves several steps to safeguard yourself and your property.
Here are five essential steps to prepare for a hailstorm:
- Stay Informed:
- Monitor local weather forecasts and stay updated on severe weather warnings. Utilize weather apps, radio, or TV to keep informed about impending hailstorms.
- Create an Emergency Kit:
- Assemble an emergency kit with essential supplies such as non-perishable food, bottled water, a flashlight, batteries, a first-aid kit, and any necessary medications. Ensure this kit is easily accessible in case of power outages or emergencies.
- Protect Your Vehicles:
- If available, park your vehicles in a garage or under a sturdy shelter to shield them from hail damage. In the absence of covered parking, consider using car covers or blankets to help minimize damage.
- Secure Outdoor Items:
- Bring inside or secure any outdoor items, including furniture, decorations, and equipment that could be damaged or blown away by hail or strong winds. This reduces the risk of projectiles during the storm.
- Prepare Your Property:
- Check your home’s structural elements. Make sure your roof is in good repair and free of any pre-existing damage. Repair any loose or damaged roofing materials. Additionally, consider installing storm shutters or reinforcing windows with plywood to protect against hail damage.
These five steps will help you proactively prepare for a hailstorm and reduce potential damage to your property and belongings while ensuring your safety during the event.
Need Help with Storm or Flood Damage?
Having a comprehensive storm preparedness checklist is your key to staying safe and secure when facing the unpredictable forces of nature. By following the guidelines provided for big storms, tornadoes, tropical storms, and heavy rains, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with these weather events.
If a storm has caused you to experience flooding or damage, Jenkins Restorations is here to help. Our team offers emergency flooding and storm damage restoration services after tropical storms, hurricanes, and other big storms. Get in touch with us now!