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Prepare Your Home for Disaster​


Is your home protected against extreme weather? For every ten people who read this article, nine of us won’t be. To prevent damage from storms and other extreme weather, disaster-proof your home with the following tips. They include a range of solutions from immediate response to long-term protection so that you can minimize property damage and safeguard your loved ones.

Know When a Storm is Coming 

  • Keep an eye on news reports to track any upcoming storms.

  • Sign up for free severe weather & emergency alerts and to be ready when it arrives.​​

Prepare for Power Outages 

  • In a really bad storm, your power may go out, which can make things much worse if you’re not prepared. To prevent this, establish an emergency kit to include first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, a manual can-opener, and most importantly, clean water.

  • If you can, try to fill prescriptions and gas tanks before a big storm, as well as charge your phones. This helps if you’re stuck indoors or cut off for longer than a day or two.


Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a power outage.​

Check Emergency Equipment Around Your Home 

  • Change the batteries of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors yearly, and test them after installing the new batteries.

  • Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher, preferably in the kitchen.

  • Clear out the areas in front of your electric, gas, and water shut-off valves. You may need to get to them quickly during or after a disaster strikes.

  • Know the location of your water main cut-off valve too, and have a cut-off key handy.

  • To remember this, choose a random minor holiday as the day to check safety devices in your house and put it in your calendar.

Repair Damage 

  • If anything is damaged in your home, get it fixed before a disaster hits.

  • Otherwise, the impending storm could worsen the damage, possibly leading to catastrophic consequences.

Make Your Home Wind-Resistant 

  • Powerful winds can target cracks and holes in your house, presenting the risk of collapse. If high winds get in your home, they can also damage valuable belongings. With so many areas in the Midwest that are natural “wind tunnels,” this presents a significant risk.

  • Install truss bracing to homes with gabled roofs, which are more prone to wind damage.

  • Try to replace doors and windows. Go for heavier metal doors and wind-resistant shutters. This will also add value to your home if you decide to sell it.

  • Caulk and fill cracks around windows and doors, especially storm doors.

  • Ensure your doors have a dead bolt lock and that the hinges are tight.

Clean Up Around Your Yard  

  • You don’t have to cut down all of the trees around your house. Some trees are good for your home and will protect your home from the weather by absorbing wind, and adding shade during the summer months.

  • You should have them inspected annually and remove any diseased areas that may be prone to breaking.

  • To be as safe as possible, you should always put tools in a garage or a shed. When these items are left in the yard, they can be dangerous if picked up by the wind.

Prepare for Flooding Too 

  • Flooding is the costliest of all natural disasters, and affects all 50 states.

  • Dry flood-proof your home so it can withstand floodwaters for at least 72 hours.

  • If you live in a flood-prone area, wet flood-proof your house, which involves making changes that will allow floodwater inside a home’s structure to minimize damage.

Prevent Cold Weather Damage 

  • Disconnect and drain your garden hoses.

  • Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.

  • Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow them to drain.

  • In extremely cold weather, drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath. Drip single control faucets with lever set in middle.

  • Stay off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted, inspect your roof for any damage.

Prep Your Car Too 

  • Check antifreeze levels in cars. If you need to add more, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.

  • Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in your lines.

  • Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower significantly.

  • More information available here.

Safeguard Important Documents 

  • Keep sensitive, important documents like social security cards, birth certificates, passports, and other items in a fire-proof safe box that you can easily lift. Store your safe box close to your doors so that you can remember to grab it on the way out.

  • Documents such as birth certificates can also be kept in safety deposit boxes for an even safer, more convenient option.

Make Sure you Have Adequate Insurance 

  • Insuring your home and personal property is definitely a big part of preparing for an emergency.

  • You should also make sure your coverage accounts for expenses (food, laundry, hotel costs). If you don’t, increase your coverage.

It may seem like a daunting task, but disaster prep can be easy if you take the right steps. With a little planning and intuition, you and your family can prepare for inclement weather to stay comfortable, remain safe, and protect your biggest investment: your home.

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