Here Are 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Prepare For A Storm
Sometimes Mother Nature is a massive pain!
With weather dominating headlines the past few weeks thanks to an active hurricane season churning out strong and devastating storms, now is a great time to take a minute and make sure you have what you need in case a storm heads our way.
According to the National Weather Service, this weekend's weather could get a little dicey, with flooding and power outages possible thanks to Hurricane Lee's high winds and heavy rains.
"We are continuing to be concerned about the following impacts:
And Gov. Mills has come out urging Mainers to take steps to prepare for the nasty weather.
“We are tracking the path of the storm and coordinating with Federal and local partners to prepare for its arrival,” said Governor Janet Mills. “We urge Maine people to exercise caution and to take common-sense steps to ensure they have all they need to stay safe as the storm draws closer moving into the weekend.”
And the Maine Emergency Management Agency echos the Governor's sentiments:
“The track of Lee is still unknown, but we want folks to pay attention to this storm through the weekend,” said Peter Rogers, Director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency. “MEMA is working with state, federal, non-profit, and private sector partners to assess resources and ensure readiness in advance of the storm. We want everyone to stay safe and please check in on your neighbors.”
As Mainers know, the weather can change just about as quickly as a toddler's mind, and go from nice to naughty in a matter of minutes. And while there are plenty of things you can prep for, here's a list of 5 easy things you can do before a storm is even forecasted, that can make all the difference if things start to go south.
You can often find good information through, of all places, your insurance company. It is, after all, in their best interest to help you protect yourself and your stuff! For instance, Statefarm.com has a list of "Ways To Stay Safe During A Severe Storm or Wind Event".
And on this list, they've got some good ideas, like making sure to move your vehicles in and undercover, or if you live in a flood zone, to higher ground.
They also suggest bringing in things like grills and large garbage cans to keep them from becoming flying projectiles!
What can you do?
Here are 5 things you can do, right now, to help you make it through the storm safely.
1.) Check your surroundings.
Actually get up, off your duff, and walk out your front door. Survey your front yard, your side yard, and your back yard for things that could blow away, blow over or blow up if hit by a "flying projectile' as mentioned above. Then take those things down and bring them inside or secure them.
If you have trees near your house, it's probably a good idea to look up at them and see if there are any loose branches that could fall on your home. Then, keep an eye out on them during the storm, and get them taken care of ASAP.
2.) Gas up.
It's always a good idea to gas up your car and generator (if you have one) before the storm hits. If you need to boot up the generator, you'll know you're good to go. If you have to leave because you lose power or a tree falls in (God forbid) on your living room, you'll have the gas to leave, if you need to.
3.) Check your flashlights and change out batteries, if need be.
There's nothing worse than reaching for a flashlight and turning it on to find out the batteries are dead and you have no light. Do it now. Thank me later, when you have light! Even better, they now sell lightbulbs that you can screw right into any normal bulb outlet, that charge while you use them, and then, with special adapters, can run when the power is out--up to 10 to 12 hours.
And speaking of charging things...
4.) Charge your stuff up now.
Cell phones, laptops, tablets. Charge them now, while you have power, and you'll have at least some form of communication and entertainment should you lose power later.
5.) Have some food on hand that you don't have to heat to eat.
I can remember, a few years back, a storm right around this time, in which the power was out for almost a week. Thankfully, I have a wood stove, so we had heat and could kind of cook things like soups and sauces. But it's a good idea to have some things on hand, for emergencies, that don't require electricity to prepare. Tuna, crackers and peanut butter, fruit. Things like that.
And to that point, always have some bottled water on hand, for emergencies, in case your water source becomes contaminated or unusable.
Other Things You May Want To Think About...
When you have a little extra time, you may want to consider checking your gutters, and storm drains and touching base with your neighbors.
An Emergency Plan and kit are good things to have.
It's also a good idea to have a plan of what to do or where to go if you can't stay at your house. A list of emergency numbers and contacts can home in very useful if your phone dies. I've listed the date of birth, current height and weight of each member of the family, and their blood type, just in case. It's not info I share with everyone, obviously, but it's in a place I could quickly grab in case I have to evacuate. It's also in a spot that any babysitter or family member could get to, in case an emergency occurs when I am not home. Knowing what the evacuation routes are in your area is a really good idea, too. Many of them are marked with certain signs.
If you don't have a plan of what to do in case of a power outage or an emergency, or a kit with some extra essentials, it would be a good idea to put something like that together. You don't have to hand dig a bunker, but a little kit of extra supplies, meds, pet food, and an emergency plan can come in handy.