April 22

How To Prepare For Severe Weather Emergencies

By changescape

April 22, 2022

Severe weather and natural disasters cause physical damage and often create serious health risks. Because of the midwest’s geography, many states, including Missouri and Illinois, are subject to frequent weather emergencies, including ice storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flooding. Preparing ahead of time for extreme weather conditions helps protect your family and property.

Ten Ways to Prepare For Weather Emergencies

Severe weather causes extensive damage to homes each year, including broken windows, roof damage, flooding, and other costly problems. The best time to prepare for a disaster is before it happens. Taking a few proactive steps ahead of time can minimize damage and protect your family.

1. Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Clean gutters and downspouts at least twice a year to ensure that heavy rainfall can move off your roof and away from the foundation. Regular gutter cleaning helps keep water from pooling at your home’s foundation and possibly entering your crawl space or basement.

2. Prune Trees and Shrubs

Regularly prune back large trees and overhanging branches. Well-trimmed trees and shrubs are more wind resistant which means they’re less likely to break during a storm. Heavy branches that overhang your roof can easily fall and puncture the roof, causing significant damage and injuries. 

3. Install a Sump Pump

If your basement is prone to flooding, install a sump pump and regularly test it. Ensure the system is draining correctly and that all mechanical components are operating. Consider installing a battery-powered backup option in case of a power outage.

4. Secure or Move Outdoor Items

When severe weather is forecasted, bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, garden tools, hanging plants, and trash cans. These items can become dangerous projectiles in the event of severe winds and can injure people and damage homes and vehicles.

5. Learn How to Turn Off Your Home’s Utilities

When a severe storm is on the horizon, a homeowner might receive emergency instructions to turn off the home’s water, gas, and electricity to prevent flooding and fire hazards. In the event of an evacuation order, turn off water, gas, and electricity before leaving your home but only if it is safe to do so.

6. Stock Up and Charge Up Devices

Stock up on essential items, including bottled water and easy-to-prepare foods. In a power outage, having easy-to-prepare food on hand will keep your family nourished and comfortable. Make sure you have plenty of flashlights and new batteries on hand. Keep cell phones and other devices charged when bad weather is forecasted. Having a working phone will be essential for contacting emergency services, utility companies, and family members.

7. Sign Up for Emergency Alerts

Most local television stations offer free weather apps to keep you informed about changing conditions. You can also get emergency notifications sent directly to your phone or via a free app from FEMA or the American Red Cross. Investing in a battery-operated NOAA weather radio is a good idea. This nationwide network of radio stations broadcasts weather information from the National Weather Service office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Early notification can save your life when severe weather or other emergencies occur.

8. Have an Evacuation Plan

The worst storms may require you to seek shelter elsewhere. Creating a natural disaster guide for your family is essential. Keep a physical document that includes evacuation routes, insurance policy information, a list of important emergency phone numbers, and a checklist for securing your home. Make sure to have a digital and hardcopy version.

how to prepare your home for severe weather emergencies

9. Prepare an Emergency Kit

If you have to evacuate your home quickly, you’ll want to have some essential items packed and ready to go. By preparing an emergency kit with supplies recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you’ll be able to evacuate quickly and be prepared if you have to remain away from your home for several days. At a minimum, include the following items:

  • Battery-operated flashlight
  • Battery-operated NOAA weather radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Local maps
  • First-aid supplies
  • 3-5 day supply of water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets and sleeping bags

10. Protect Electrical Devices

Power outages are a common occurrence during severe weather. To protect your home’s electrical appliances and devices, turn off and unplug all unnecessary electronics. When the power is restored, this will keep expensive equipment from being damaged by surges or spikes.

If You Need to File an Insurance Claim

If the worst happens and your home is damaged by severe weather, it’s essential to take quick action to minimize the damage and begin the restoration process. It’s critical to read and understand your insurance policy. Homeowner’s insurance covers damage caused by storms but whether or not your insurer will pay for the cost of repairs often depends on what caused the damage. 

After securing your family’s safety, call your insurance agent immediately to start the claim process. After a widespread natural disaster, thousands of homeowners will file insurance claims, so the sooner your claim is underway, the better. Document the damage with video and photos if it’s safe for you to enter the property.

Trying to clean up after a disaster on your own is rarely a good idea. If your home has been damaged by flooding, tornadoes, fire, or other disasters, chemical hazards are just one of the reasons to work with a professional cleaning and restoration company.

Trust Your Local Cleaning and Restoration Professionals 

Call St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration at (314) 328-7793 or contact us online to discuss your needs when you need professional cleaning or restoration services. In business since 1991, our technicians are trained professionals who can restore any disaster in your home. 

As a leading water damage restoration company, you can count on us to come to the rescue and save your property.

We proudly serve the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, and our emergency response teams are available 24/7 when time is of the essence. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate.  

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