Just ask anyone sitting in the dark, unable to warm up some soup in the microwave, or even stop the wind and rain from blowing in through a gaping hole in what was once the living room wall! Spring storms can be devastating.
Unfortunately, they happen with jaw-dropping regularity in areas that are historically prone to tornadoes, thunderstorms, hail, high winds, and even hurricanes. The most productive time to think about these storms is before they occur. Preparation can help ensure that a catastrophe is a temporary inconvenience and not a life-and-death situation.
Proper preparation for spring storms can save lives and property, and for more than 130 years, Acme Brick has helped protect families from nature’s fury. If you’re building a new home, talk to your architect and builder about the benefits of brick construction. Click here to learn about the durability and sustainability of brick for your home.
Start With the Basics - A Strong Structure
For thousands of years, homes constructed of brick have withstood the ravages of spring storms. Families have been protected, and properties, some irreplaceable, have been saved. For more than 130 years, the experts at Acme Brick have manufactured this almost indestructible building material by combining natural materials such as clay and shale and “baking” them in high-temperature (up to 2,000 degrees F) kilns.
In areas where tornadoes, hail, and high winds are likely, there is no better material to “have around your house” than brick. If a new home is planned in these areas, building it with brick should be at the top of the list for storm preparation.
The 7 Additional Steps to Take Before the Storm
There are several other critical elements on the storm preparation list. Home insurance companies such as American Family Insurance have seen the destruction and havoc wreaked by storms, and they have decades of experience to help homeowners better survive.
There’s an app for that.
When things are quiet, it’s a great time to establish a personal weather information “lifeline.” The insurance company suggests downloading the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app to smartphones in order to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service and texts for over 20 types of disasters.
Check the exterior of the home.
Before the winds howl, it's important to inspect the exterior of the home for any potential vulnerabilities. Check for the following:
- Check the roof for shingles that look rippled or those that have already fallen to the ground.
- Examine the siding to ensure that it’s firmly in place.
- Assess branches extending over your house or driveway that could fall during a storm.
- Make sure all unattached structures such as sheds or gazebos are bolted securely to their foundation.
- Note free-standing patio furniture and umbrellas that should be secured or pulled inside before a storm hits.
- Ensure that gutters are firmly attached and free of debris, and that all downspouts direct runoff away from the foundation.
- If you have shutters, make sure they’re secure.
- Check to see if your fence needs repair.
- Close and lock all windows and doors, including garage doors.
Get a jump on the sump pump.
Damages from floods cost homeowners billions of dollars each spring. If the home has a sump pump, now is a good time to go through its maintenance checklist.
Go on leak alert!
If the home has a basement, check the foundation for any water leaks here and on the exterior walls. Once the rain is pouring, those leaks can make the homeowner feel like the “Little Dutch Boy”!
What’s the plan, Stan?
The adjusters and experts at American Family Insurance have seen what the chaos of a ferocious storm can do to an unprepared family. They suggest these plans be implemented and discussed in a family meeting BEFORE storm season.
- Identify the safest place to shelter in your home for each type of storm.
- Create a social network communication plan for times when you’re not together.
- Learn your area’s evacuation routes and create an evacuation plan.
- Determine how your pets will be included in the safety plan.
- If you’re bringing supplies into the safe area, make a list of who will be responsible for collecting these items.
What’s in a disaster bag?
To help those caught in a storm, the U.S. government’s website, READY offers a comprehensive list of items to be stored in a storm disaster bag. Some of these items include:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least several days’ supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
For the complete READY list, click here.
Plan the power play.
High winds cause trees and limbs to snap power lines, and, in addition to being annoying, this can lead to medical emergencies. American General Insurance suggests:
Addressing medical concerns that rely on a consistent power supply:
- Talk to your doctor about what to do during a power outage.
- Discuss your concerns with your power company so they can put you on their priority list.
Managing your electricity needs:
- If you own a generator, fire up your generator and be sure it’s in good working order.
- Plug all your expensive electronics into surge protectors just in case there’s a surge while power is being restored.
- Charge your phones and any other electronic devices.
- Fill all your fuel tanks and then swing by the store to grab some non-perishable foods.
Getting back to normal after a storm can be trying, but Acme has home improvement products that can make your home even better than it was before the destruction. Click here for great ideas.