Protect Your Home and Family: Severe Weather Guide
It's never too early to prepare your family and your home for hurricanes, severe weather or natural disasters. Use this “How-To” guide to help you protect your property and loved ones in advance of an emergency.
Have a Plan
Severe Weather: Hurricane
- Listen to radio or watch TV for weather updates.
- Locate Storm Readiness Kit. Click here to learn what to include and how to prepare your own.
- Gas up your vehicle, in case of an evacuation notice.
- Fill gas containers for generator. Store in a safe place. Learn more about emergency generators here.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools, and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside. Learn how to prepare your yard here.
- Clear your yard of debris.
- Review evacuation plans.
- Install storm protection devices such as shutters. Brace entry doors and garage doors.
- Anchor your boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Learn how here.
Severe Weather: Flood
- Locate Storm Readiness Kit. Plan yours here.
- Fill sinks, tubs and buckets with water. This water can be used for hygiene.
- If you have a well, seal it to keep out silt and debris.
- Shut off electricity at your main panel, if the floor beneath the panel is dry.
- Attach rigid foam insulation or plastic sheeting around the outside first floor walls. Water will get in, but most of the silt will be kept out.
- Be ready to leave on short notice if evacuation is required.
Severe Weather: Tornado
- Stay away from windows.
- Take cover immediately. Go to the basement or the center of the lowest level of your home. Bring your Storm Readiness Kit with you or it may be blown away by high winds. If no basement is available, get underneath something sturdy, like a workbench or heavy table, crouch down and cover your head. Under a stairway is also good.
- Cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.
- Bring a radio with you to your place of shelter so you'll know when the danger has passed.
- If you are caught outdoors and no shelter is available, crawl into a ditch, depression or culvert and cover yourself, protecting your head. Stay away from trees and cars, which may be blown on top of you.
- If you're in a vehicle, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of the path of the tornado by driving at right angles to it. Otherwise, park your car quickly and safely, off the road. However tempting, don't park under bridges,which can cause a traffic danger while giving you little protection.
3 Storm Kits
Emergency Car Kit
Severe Weather Safety Tips
- If you're wet, barefoot or standing in water, don't use anything electric or try to plug in power cords.
- If you're working outdoors or in an area with any dampness, use GFCI-protected outlets or extension cords.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Don't walk in a flooded basement if the power is still on or could go on.
- Turn off the hot water heater (electric or gas) if there is any chance of flood.
- Avoid using candles. If a fire starts, there may be no phone service, the fire department may not be able to get to you, and fire hydrants may not be working.
- Don't ever use a charcoal or propane grill in the house.
Protect Your Pets
Prepare Your Yard
Tie it Down
Storm Shutters for Doors and Windows
Reinforce Your Roof
Strengthen Your Garage Door
Caulk and Seal
Get Your Home Ready for Floods
A Safe Room
Storm-Tough Building Products
- Many storm-tough products are also energy efficient products, helping reduce utility bills in the long run.
- Although the materials may be more expensive, the labor to install them is often no more than to install standard products.
- Most products, because they're built to stand up to the elements, have a longer projected lifespan.
- Many insurance companies offer discounts to policy holders installing storm-tough materials.
Prepare Your Home Checklist
After the Storm
- Don’t return to severely damaged buildings until advised to do so. There may be structural damage that makes the building unsafe to enter.
- Help a neighbor who may require special assistance: the elderly, people with disabilities and large families with young children.
- Take photos of the damage for your records and save samples of spoiled floorings and furnishings to show to your insurance claims adjuster.