Check out these storm-preparation suggestions, as well as what to do once the severe weather has passed.

Anyone who has ever lived through a severe storm or hurricane understands how devastating the damage to their house and property can be, both emotionally and financially.

What can you do to stay safe in the event of a storm? If you’ve been given advance warning that a major storm or hurricane is on its way, here are some suggestions for minimizing property damage and increasing your comfort level in the aftermath.


Storm preparation is essential

  • Organize your vital paperwork and keep them offsite, in a bank safe deposit box or another safe place. Your mortgage, home and auto insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, and other critical documents should be kept in a safe, dry location where you can access them even if your house is damaged. To avoid flood damage, store other papers and keepsakes in plastic, sealable bags on a high shelf.
  • To accelerate insurance claims after the storm, make a home inventory of your belongings and preserve it offsite with your vital papers. It’s far easier to file a claim with an established inventory than it is to try to develop one during the stressful aftermath of a storm.
  • Assemble an emergency supply kit. The type of emergency pack you’ll need will be determined by where you live and the types of disasters you might face. These items will come in helpful if you have to leave your home and stay in a public shelter for a while.
  • If feasible, set up an easily accessible emergency fund to help you get back on your feet after the disaster.


Getting ready for a tornado, hurricane, or other wind event

  • Board up windows and glass doors with shutters or plywood to minimize damage from breaking glass, in case of heavy winds.
  • Put your car in the garage or somewhere else that will keep it safe. In the event of flooding, if you don’t have a garage, relocate it to higher ground. Don’t forget to prepare your RV if a hurricane is going your way.
  • Bring potted plants and outdoor furniture inside. Anything that could be picked up by the wind and blown against your house should be secured beforehand.
  • Turn off the propane tank and store your gas barbecue safely indoors.
  • To avoid damage, turn off the circuit breaker for your outdoor pool and remove the engine.
  • Pruning branches that may break off during a storm and injure someone or cause damage to your home or vehicle is a good idea.
  • Tie down anything that can’t be removed off your boat, such as tillers, wheels, and booms. Use at least two anchors to anchor the boat down if the boat stays in the water.
  • If possible, rent or buy an emergency generator. A severe storm can knock out power for days, if not weeks, at your home. You can keep your refrigerator running and some lights on with a generator.


When the storm has passed

After strong thunderstorms, windstorms and derechos

  • Note the depth of the floodwaters in relation to your car when inspecting your vehicle for flood damage. If there is water in the engine, starting a flooded car can cause extra harm.
  • If at all possible, avoid driving. If you have to travel, turn around if the route is flooded or obstructed by debris.
  • Stay away from downed electrical wires. A charge can be carried by anything that comes into contact with the power line. Report the downed power line and stay away from the area.
  • Hazardous places should be cleaned up or roped off. Cover windows that have been shattered by hail or wind with tarps and plywood until an inspector can assess the damage.


After a tornado

Tornadoes may be terrifying. So, if a tornado strikes, try to remain as cool as possible and be prepared for what comes next.

  • Wear suitable attire. For examining damage and handling debris, wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots, long sleeves, and gloves.
  • When inspecting damage, avoid using candles or torches. In a damaged building, sparks from an open flame could start a fire or create a gas-related explosion.
  • If you smell something burning, notice frayed or sparking wires, or suspect a gas leak, turn off the power. Turn off the main circuit breaker and the natural gas and propane tanks.
  • Keep an eye out for debris. Sharp objects, shattered glass, and exposed nails can all cause wounds that can become infected.


After a hurricane

There will be damage regardless of how well you prepare for a hurricane. Here are some pointers to get you started with the cleanup.

  • Be cautious with electronics. Turn off any wet appliances. Turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker and have an electrician assess the appliances before using them again if they are plugged in.
  • Food that has gone bad should be thrown away. Toss perishables and any food that has been exposed to flood or storm water.
  • If possible, stay away from tap water. Following a violent storm, public water may become contaminated. Bottled water should be used for drinking, handwashing, dishwashing, tooth brushing, and producing ice.


Bottom line

Weather may be variable, so you may be prepared for maintaining a few backup measures in place that can safeguard you at any time. Examining your insurance arrangements in advance, before severe weather strikes, will give you peace of mind. 

Maintaining the automobile and putting together a survival pack can make it easier to go to a safe spot and obtain the items you require. Making a family plan and adopting the recommendations offered by emergency responders would put you in the best possible position.