Summer calls for sunny barbecues and cool drinks, but the warm and humid air also brings the potential for stormy weather. Heavy rains, strong winds and flying debris can damage your home, but with a little storm preparedness, you can mitigate much of the potential damage. Here’s how to prepare your home for the coming season.
Gather or tie down loose items in your yard
Check for porch and lawn furniture or décor that a gust of wind could blow away. Bring in what you can, and try to anchor anything you can’t to help prevent it from getting blown over or tossed through the air.
Is your lawn littered with loose branches or kids’ toys? Small objects often become serious projectiles during a bad storm, potentially penetrating windows or even walls. Cleaning up any miscellaneous items around your home between storms will help protect your property from damage.
Watch for water hazards
Water can be a home’s worst enemy, so it’s important to seal and monitor any spots where it could seep into your house. Before the next big storm hits, suit up and go out when it’s raining lightly. Check for clogged gutters. If water is pooling near your foundation, your downspouts may not be diverting water away from your home properly.
Inspect all your windows and any doors that lead outside to ensure there’s no water getting in through any of them. If you have a basement, check there, too. Even if you don't notice any moisture at the moment, look for stains, discoloration, or peeling caulk, which can all be symptoms of water damage. It could be that you only notice the moisture during a heavier rain, but understanding how your home handles rain of all intensities can save you from a rotting foundation, mold, and expensive repairs down the line.
Water can also pool up in your lawn, damaging your grass or other landscaping. If you find soggy spots, the fix can sometimes be as simple as redirecting a downspout, but that’s not always the case. Other creative solutions could include constructing a creek bed to channel water away from low areas. You may even be able to turn a damp spot into a rain garden full of plants that love to drink up water.
Stock up in case of emergency
If you’ve ever experienced a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, you know how important it is to have certain supplies. A serious weather event could disrupt supply chains or keep you home for multiple days without the opportunity for a trip to the store.
Your storm preparedness plan should include these essentials:
- Water (enough for one gallon per person, per day)
- Food (at least a three-day, shelf-stable supply per person)
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Portable, rechargeable power packs for your phone or other devices
- Matches or lighter
- First-aid kit
- Any required medications
- Paper towels, toilet paper, and moist wipes or hand sanitizer for hygiene
As far as food goes, opt for items like ready-to-eat canned foods, dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, dehydrated meals, instant coffee, tea bags, and maybe a few sweet treats to help keep you happy. Make sure you have what you need for any pets, too!
Stay connected to family, friends, and neighbors
The next time a major weather event is about to hit, simply having a conversation with your family about your storm preparedness plan can help make sure everyone is on the same page.
Choose a safe local place to meet in case your home in danger, and make sure your family members all have one another’s phone numbers memorized or written down. It might feel worrisome to talk about, but having a plan can make a huge difference in an urgent situation.
If you live in a traditional neighborhood or tight-knit community, check in with your neighbors as well. Make sure to mention any loose items on their lawns that could become projectiles that could hit your home.
Review your insurance policy
Knowing what’s covered or not covered through your homeowners insurance is also important. Take a few minutes to review your policy so you can be confident you’re covered for the things that matter most. Have that policy information handy so you can get support as quickly as possible in case you need it.
Take pride in knowing you’re protecting your investment in your home by practicing good storm preparedness. It should give you a little more confidence the next time you see a special weather report or hear thunder in the distance.
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