Make sure you are ready in case severe weather strikes. Here are some helpful tips:
Always take weather warnings seriously. Watching the forecast for the week can tell you if there may be a chance of severe weather so you can be prepared. If you have a radio that uses batteries and you don’t have a generator, make sure to have fresh batteries in case you lose power. Also, make sure your flashlight has fresh batteries and that your cell phone is fully charged.
You should have a safety kit available and close to your severe weather shelter. A battery operated radio, shoes, identification, car keys and cell phone all should be included in your safety kit. If you have a safe room or shelter, you might consider storing important papers and other irreplaceable items in the shelter. Make sure you have something to cover up with. Pillows, sleeping bags, a mattress could help to protect you from falling or flying debris. Above all, protect your head, neck and upper body. Wear a helmet if you have one. During a tornado warning, get as low to the ground as possible and make a small as possible target.
During times of heavy rainfall, the most common catastrophe in many homes is sump pump failure. Battery backup pumps and generators provide added insurance in case of a power outage. Just a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Preventative maintenance can minimize damage during high winds. Here are some things to look for:
- Check eaves, fascia, siding and shingles to be sure they are nailed securely.
- Check trees and shrubs for dead and decaying limbs and remove those near your home or power lines.
- Remove debris or other items from around your home that could become projectiles if picked up by the wind.
- Prefabricated sheds should be firmly anchored to the ground.
- Make sure all downspouts are diverting water away from your home’s foundation.
If you are in a vehicle during a tornado, find a station broadcasting weather information. The chances of being hit directly by a tornado in your vehicle are small. However, severe thunderstorms contain other deadly and destructive elements. If possible, get off the road and find shelter underneath an awning, carwash or other structure. Abandon your vehicle if possible and get into a sturdy structure. Do not park underneath highway overpasses or bridges. Always avoid roads that are covered by water, even familiar ones. If you are not able to find immediate shelter, get into a ditch, culvert or low spot. These should be used as absolute last resorts.