How to Prepare Your Home for Severe Storms

January 11, 2021 | Cristina Dinulescu

It’s that time of year again…storm season. Temperatures are cooling off and jet streams are changing which sometimes can stir up some nasty storms, especially if you live near a large body of water. Severe thunderstorms are defined by the National Weather Service as “storms that are capable of producing hail that is an inch or larger or wind gusts over 58 mph”. As you can imagine, hail this size can produce serious damage to your property. We want to make sure that you and your family are safe during severe storms, so here are some of the best tips on preparing for a winter storm.

1. Put Together an Emergency Kit

preparing for a winter storm - emergency kit

Make sure that you have an emergency kit within reach at all times. It should include all the necessary things like batteries, mylar blanket, and a flashlight. Don’t forget to stock any first aid supplies you may need as well such as band-aids, peroxide, gauze, and tape.

During severe storms, there is a high probability that you will lose your power. Make sure that your cell phones are charged and that you can survive without having to charge anything for a good amount of time. It is a good idea to have matches and a stove ready so that you have a feasible way of preparing meals. Stock up on as many canned foods as possible and have some easy to prepare meals on hand just to make life a little less complicated during the storm.

2. Be Weather-Ready

weather forecast

Preparing for a winter storm means staying safe and minimizing impact as much as possible. Here are a few measures you can take to make this happen: 

  • Verify the forecast on a regular basis to check if there is any risk for severe weather. Try listening to the local news or the NOAA Weather Radio to keep track of severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. Also, you can check Weather-Ready Nation for tips.  
  • Make sure you sign up for notifications. Your community is most likely sending out storm notifications, but you need to figure out the way in which they are doing it. For instance, some communities have outdoor sirens, while others rely on the media or smartphones to inform residents about severe storms. 
  • Put together a communications plan. It’s important to have a family plan that also includes an emergency meeting place. Choose a safe room in your home, which can be the storm cellar, basement, or an interior room, with no windows, located on the lowest floor. For some inspiration on how to prepare for a storm and create a plan, check here.
  • Put your plan to the test. It’s important to make sure that the plan you have prepared is functioning. So, the best thing you could do when preparing for a winter storm is to set up a thunderstorm drill regularly. This way everyone will know what to do in case a real emergency appears. And don’t forget your pets, if you have any. 

3. Prepare Your Home

It is important to trim the trees and branches near your home. If you can, secure loose objects, move any valuable objects inside your home or under a sturdy structure, and close all doors and windows. 

Also, give your neighbor a helping hand. Encourage your loved ones to set up their own how to prepare for a storm plan. A CPR training course is a good idea. This way, if someone does get hurt, you can offer qualified assistance. 

4. Secure All Areas

When preparing for a winter storm, you need to consider both indoor and outdoor factors. For outdoors, make sure your fences are adequately secured. This way, you will be able to prevent them from being thrown against the house by heavy winds.  

If you have outdoor furniture like chairs or large patio tables or toys, you need to secure them as well. Heavy winds can lift them up and throw them around, causing serious exterior damage to your house. You could also anchor your outdoor furniture or even bring it inside before the storm hits. Everything that can fly and cause damage to your home, should be moved to the garage if you have one. 

Wind is certainly one of the most serious threats in a storm. It presents a danger to your windows, doors, roof, and garage doors. One of the things you can do to protect against heavy winds is build and install temporary protection, like wind shutters or plywood on the patio and entry door coverings or windows. These will strengthen and stiffen the doors and windows, making them more wind-resistant. 

5. Take Precautions During The Storm

preparing for a winter storm precautions

During the storm, you will also want to take some precautions like:

  • Unplug all major electrical appliances and gadgets such as computers, televisions, DVRs, and stereo systems.
  • If you see a power line lying on the ground, stay away from it. Immediately dial 911 and inform them. Coming into contact with a downed power line can cause serious injury and even death.

In case there is an outage, do the following:

  • Call the helpline number of your power company and inform them about the outage.
  • If the storm happens during the winter months, it may get really cold really quickly. Wear as many layers of warm clothes as possible. Also, close all the doors and the windows. A candle won’t be enough to keep you warm. You can, however, use it as a light.
  • Make sure to leave at least one light on, so that you know when the power comes back.

6. Be Careful After The Storm

Sometimes, severe thunderstorms don’t come alone. That’s why it’s important to continue listening to the local news or a NOAA Weather Radio and stay updated about the weather. There may be other warnings coming your way. 

You also need to assess the damage. Preparing for a winter storm is a process, which doesn’t end once the storm passes. You should check your property for damage and when doing so, make sure you wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. If you notice that the power lines are down, contact the local authorities. If you do have registered any damage, beware of insurance scammers. 

Slowly turn on your electrical appliances one by one. If you turn everything on at once, then you risk another outage or surge.

Call Penna Electric if you need any repairs done to your wiring or electrical system.

If you are in need of any type of electrical repairs or installation, contacts us today. Our knowledgeable, experienced staff will get your electrical work done right the first time, every time.

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