Is Your Home Prepared for Extreme Weather?
Hurricane season is in full force this year, and as we watch other states brace for the next big storm to strike, it pays to remember that New England is not impervious to large storms and their damage.
Will we see what Texas or Florida sees in terms of hurricanes? Probably not, but when a big storm is predicted, we still need to take it seriously. As a homeowner you should not be complacent about getting prepared for a hurricane or big storm. It can, and probably will, happen at some point - usually when one least expects it.
Until hurricane season ends (on or about Nov. 30) it is wise to gather a few supplies, take action to protect your home, and create a plan to keep your family and pets safe in case a large storm moves into New England.
Here are key steps to a storm preparedness plan:
- Find out if your house is located within a flood zone: This may tell you if the property will be affected when torrential rains, storm surges or tidal flooding are forecasted.
- Install a generator for emergency electricity: This can be helpful year-round when you lose power and can really make a difference in the days you wait for services to be restored.
- Stock up on batteries: Power will be needed for flashlights and a portable radio.
- Put together a family emergency kit: Your disaster supply kit should include basic items your family may need in the event of an emergency. This should be put together long before a storm hits. Stores may run out of some supplies in the days leading up to a major storm since everyone will be stocking up. In the rare case you have to evacuate and take essentials with you, there will be no spare time for shopping.
- Plan for survival on your own: You may need supplies to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having enough of your own food, clean water and general supplies required to get by for at least 72 hours. Rescue crews cannot reach everyone immediately following a disaster. It could be hours or it could be days before roads are clear enough for you to leave your home and power is restored.
- Have prescription medications filled and ready: Keep them with you during the storm, and have enough to last for a few weeks.
- Know that electricity, gas, water, and phones may be cut off for a long period of time. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
- Learn local evacuation routes: Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate. Fill your car’s gas tank with gas prior to the storm.
- Batten down the hatches: If a storm is predicted to have high or even hurricane force winds, cover all of your home’s windows. Board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Another year-round option would be installing laminated glass with impact-resistant glazing. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Prepare your yard: Trim trees and shrubs around your home so they are more wind resistant. Clear clogged gutters and downspouts. Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans and anything not tied down.
Could our area of the country be hit by the next “big storm”? It has happened before, so it is wise to be prepared before a storm hits, stay informed of weather predictions and warnings, and have an action plan in place for the entire family.
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