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10 Steps to Take Now to Protect Yourself After a Bad Storm Rolls Into the Area

July 15, 2015

Written by: Randy Walker

When the spring and summer months roll around, one of the first things you should do is to ensure you are well protected from storms. Storms can become quite intense during this time of the year. The humidity, high heat, and overall changing weather patterns create the perfect ingredients for an intense storm. The good news is that you can properly prepare for a storm and even avoid most of the risks you could face from it if you invest time in emergency preparedness now. It doesn't have to be hard to do, and it can even be life-saving.

#1: Understand the risks you face

Before you can be ready to protect yourself from severe weather, you need to know what the largest risks in the region are. For example, most areas in the United States have the risk of thunderstorms and lightning. Additional risks in some regions include flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires. All of the steps a property owner can take to protect his or her home center around the threats present at that location.

#2: Create a family emergency plan

The next step is to have a well-designed, organized family emergency plan. This plan should specifically address what happens when severe weather happens. Where does everyone go to meet? What are the various ways to get out of the home safely? It is not only important to have such a plan but to practice it. Even with older children, this can make a huge difference in overall success and safety when an event does take place.

#3: Get backup power solutions

Any equipment that is needed - from generators to flashlights to medical equipment - needs not only a fully charged battery, but backup options. APC battery replacements should be on hand for any risk present. Know the type of battery needed, such as a sonic power battery for high-end equipment or simple batteries for flashlights, and where they are stored. Store these in a watertight container to ensure they are easily accessible whenever the need arises.

#4: Know where to get emergency information

In today's smartphone focused industry, it is easy to get information about what is happening. Even with cell phones and Internet access, though, you still need to have a backup system for knowing what's happening. This is necessary because cell towers and Internet lines can go down, leaving you without a reception. It is a good idea to turn to NOAA Weather Radio (the National Weather Service's radio service) for updates. Having phone numbers on hand for loved ones, local fire, and police, and hospitals can be helpful.

#5: Set up weather alerts

Along with finding information, it can also help to know simply there is a threat through the use of weather alerts. Often, events like tornados and severe thunderstorms can develop within a matter of minutes even when there are blue skies. Having a few weather apps available to you, such as those found on most smartphones can help. It is also possible to set up weather alerts online, so you receive them in your email.

#6: Take storms seriously

Whether it is a teen, that does not believe that storms can be worrisome or any other person who simply has never been through such an event, one thing is for sure. Severe weather is dangerous. In 2013, for example, tornadoes came through the central portion of Oklahoma and left millions of dollars in damages. In fact, in November of 2013, 70 tornadoes touched down in the Midwest alone. That is an incredible amount of risk even if you've never seen this type of risk previously.

#7: Plan for threats with landscaping

Whether your home is at risk of wildfires or hurricanes, your home's landscaping can play a role in the house's protection and ability to withstand the worst outcomes. For example, in wildfire areas, landscaping around the house should be minimal to reduce the risk that material that can flood will be present near the home. In hurricane areas, having shutters to protect windows and roofs that can withstand high winds is essential.

#8: Stock up on water

Water is one of the first necessities that can become inaccessible in severe weather. For example, contamination can occur within just a few minutes when lines and pipes no longer remain out of the water access. You need to have water at your location and ready to go in case you no longer have access, or the water could be contaminated easily. Having three day's worth of water for each person is a good idea. Each person needs at least one gallon of water per day stored. Water bottles and jugs are often the easiest way to store it.

#9: Have an emergency kit

Your emergency kit should have everything you need to survive a few days if there is flooding, no electricity, or no other services necessary to maintaining your health. This kit should have food and water as well as other supplies for three days. This may include dehydrated or packaged, dry food, medical supplies, as well as medications and contact information in it. This makes it easy for you to ensure there is no risk if you do not have access to these supplies otherwise.

#10: Stay educated

Learn how to do CPR. Ensure you know how to splint properly a broken limb and how to treat open cuts. It helps if you know how to set up your Internet service, how to drive through flooded streets, and what to do when you cannot get help over the phone. The more information and education you have on an ongoing basis, the better your level of safety is.

Perhaps what is most important is to realize that it only takes a matter of a few minutes for an unexpected storm to create significant damage and a loss of life. Your ability to survive depends on many factors, including your ability to be prepared. Taking just a few minutes today to create a plan, get backup batteries in place, and to educate your family can be life-saving. Take the time right now to get your plans in place before the next storm comes in.

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