Prepare Now for Hurricanes and Severe Weather
By: Danny Lipford
The 2015 hurricane season has officially arrived! Here are some tips on supplies to stock up on now, what to do to get ready if you’re in the path of a hurricane, and how to deal with the aftermath of a storm.
Step #1: Stocking Up for a Storm
Now is the time to buy and organize your hurricane supplies before a storm is on the way. It’s also the time to make any needed improvements to your house to protect it from high winds, such as reinforcing roof framing and buying hurricane covers for windows.
Storm Supplies to Keep on Hand:
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable dry and canned food
- Battery powered weather radio
- Battery powered AM/FM radio
- First aid kit
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Hand operated can opener
- Insect repellant
- Hand sanitizer
- Tarps and plastic sheeting
- Duct tape and rope
- Water cutoff key
- Battery powered smoke and CO alarms
- Fire extinguisher
- Protective window covers
- Portable or standby generator
In the aftermath of a hurricane or other natural disaster, a generator can be worth its weight in gold. Generators, such as those from Generac, are available in both portable and standby models.
Portable generators require starting, hooking up, and fueling by the homeowner. Some newer models, such as the Generac RS7000E, have electronic start and a large capacity fuel tank to simplify their use.
Standby generators, like the Generac Guardian 22kW, run on natural gas and start and power your home automatically whenever there is a power outage.
When using a portable generator, safety is very important to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, damage to appliances, and electrical shock. Be sure and follow these safety rules when operating a portable generator:
- Location: Generators should only be operated in the open and at a safe distance from the home. They should not be used in an enclosed storage building, garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or near open windows or doors.
- Wiring: Never attach a portable generator directly to the wiring in your home. Instead, plug electrical devices into a heavy duty extension cord that is attached to the generator.
- Load: Be sure the combined wattage of all the devices that are plugged into the generator does not exceed the rated capacity of either the generator or extension cord.
- Fueling: Turn the generator off and allow it to cool before filling it with fuel.
Step #2: Preparing for a Storm
When a hurricane or other severe weather is on the way, take the following precautions.
- Make sure drug prescriptions have been filled.
- Fill up gas cans, propane tanks, and your car with gas.
- Set icemaker to make as much ice as possible.
- Charge cell phones, laptops, and cordless tools.
- Trim trees well away from your house.
- Secure garbage cans, lawn furniture, grills, bikes, and toys.
- Cover windows with 5/8” plywood or approved hurricane covers.
- Close tub drain, line tub with plastic sheeting, and fill with water.
- Gather important papers (insurance, financial, medical, home inventory).
- Determine evacuation routes and mark them on maps.
- Reserve hotel room away from the storm near evacuation route.
Step #3: Dealing with the Aftermath of a Storm
Once a hurricane or other severe weather has passed, it’s important to know what to do to stay safe and prevent further damage to your home.
Disaster Safety and Damage Repair:
- Listen to the radio for advisories.
- Stay inside until all danger has passed.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Keep out of buildings that have structural damage.
- Stay away from damaged trees and dangling or broken limbs.
- Watch out for snakes and other wild animals.
- Turn the gas off at the meter if you smell gas.
- Do not drive unless absolutely necessary.
- Avoid using candles or other open flames indoors.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy at all times.
- Make sure your sewer system is working before flushing toilets.
- Document damage with photos before cleaning up.
- Cover leaking roofs to prevent further water damage.
- Remove wet rugs and carpet from floors.
- Check with insurance company before hiring a contactor.
Watch our Summer Storm Preparation Tips video to find out more.