While the changing of seasons brings us Texans cooler temperatures and much-needed rain, it’s also a great reminder to prepare for inclement weather. As many of us witnessed last night, storms roll through DFW quickly and can leave a trail of damage behind.
With the help of American Red Cross and Family Handy Man, we have compiled a list of tips to help you prepare your home in the event of a weather emergency.
- Make a list of outdoor items that could be damaged by a storm and move them to a sheltered or enclosed area.
- Remove dead limbs from trees, and strategically remove branches to allow air to flow through trees. This will help mitigate the risk of limbs being detached and hurled by a storm.
- Remove debris and loose items from your backyard. Firewood, tools, and even toys can become dangerous items during a storm.
- Prepare an emergency kit for your family. Don’t forget to include your pets as you purchase or build a kit to keep at home!
- Strengthen garage doors. Garage doors can easily be damaged and destroyed by debris, and strengthening them can prevent strong winds from entering and causing structural damage.
- Consider installing a storm shelter. Shelters can be installed in your garage and can provide an additional layer of protection for your family.
- Review evacuation plans. You and your family should pick two locations to go to for safety in the event of an emergency. Choose one out-of-town person as an emergency contact and create a list of emergency contacts that can be kept in a safe, readily available place.
- Locate water, gas, and electricity shut-offs. Finding the water, gas, and electricity shut-offs should be among the first things you do when you move into a new home. Wait to turn off your gas until local officials tell you to do so.
- Unplug electrical appliances if power is lost. Unplugging your appliances will prevent any potential damage from a power surge once power is restored.
- Gather insurance documents. Your home insurance documents and other important papers should be part of your storm kit and readily available in the event of a disaster because you will need that proof for claims and assistance.
In the event of a serious weather emergency, consider the following guidelines:
- Listen to local radio and TV for weather updates and warnings. According to the National Weather Service, a significant weather watch means there is the possibility for significant weather in the area, while a significant weather warning means significant weather is about to occur or has already occurred. In the event of a warning, find a place to take shelter immediately.
- Identify a safe space in your home for your family and pets to gather. If you do not have a shelter, find an interior room on the first floor with no windows.
- In a high-rise building, pick a hallway in the center of the building if you are unable to make your way to the ground floor.
- In a mobile home, find a safe space in a nearby sturdy building.
- If you are on the road, stay away from overpasses, find a safe space to park, and position yourself below the windows, covering yourself with a blanket to protect from debris.
As we continue into the fall season, talk about these tips with your family to ensure that everyone is prepared for significant weather events. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance following a weather emergency, our team is here to connect you with resources for any of your home needs.