How to Prepare Your Home for Spring Storms
The snow is finally melting and spring is beginning to bloom. Unfortunately, not all the bad weather is gone. Spring can bring some strong storms your way. But, with a little preparation, you’ll be ready to protect your home against Mother Nature. Here’s how you can get ready for spring storms.
Sign up for alerts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sends text messages to keep you updated emergency situations. But long before anything gets that severe, your local government, television and radio stations, and power companies have similar services that let you know what’s happening in your region. The more information you get, the easier it is to plan and prepare.
Evaluate the exterior. Your home is designed to shelter you from the weather. To keep it in tip-top condition, do regular walk-arounds and inspect for weaknesses. Keep an eye out for the following things:
- Loose shingles that look rippled or ones that have already fallen to the ground.
- Check the siding to see if it’s firmly in place.
- Tree branches extending over your house or dead branches that could fall in a storm.
- Note loose patio furniture and décor that should be secured or pulled inside when a storm comes.
- Gutters should be firmly attached and all downspouts need to be in place.
- If you have shutters, make sure they’re secure.
- Check to see if your fence needs repair.
Clean gutters and downspouts. Gutter cleaning should be part of your spring and fall home maintenance routine. This proactive habit keeps water run-off away from your home and helps prevent flooding. It also gives you the opportunity to inspect your rain gutters for leaks and sagging. When you‘re ready to tackle the task, use these tips:
- Follow all ladder safety precautions and have a spotter there to help.
- Wear gloves and use a gardening trowel to pull out debris.
- Drape a tarp on the ground or use a bucket for easy clean-up.
- Use your hose to force water through downspouts to make sure they’re clean.
Check your sump pump. As the saying goes, spring flowers bring May showers. And with all that rain, your risk of flooding increases. If you have a sump pump, it’s a great idea to run through an annual sump pump maintenance list. You’ll want to clear all debris so it doesn’t impede function and ensure your back-up is in working order.
Tend to leaks. If you’ve had leaks in the past, it’s best to take care of them now — before there’s more damage. It’s also worth taking a look in basements and along exterior walls to see if there are signs of past leaks that went unnoticed.
Review your safety plans. Get together with your family and go over what to do if there’s a big storm. Things to consider for your storm safety plan:
- Where is the safest place to shelter in the house? Is it the same place for every storm?
- Create a communication plan for times when you’re not together.
- Learn the routes in case there’s an evacuation.
- Decide how your pets will be included in the safety plan.
- If you’re bringing supplies into the safe area, predetermine who grabs what.
Check your emergency kits. Your storm survival kit should be refreshed once or twice a year, just to make sure nothing has expired. You might find that some needs have changed, so a little updating could be required. If you’re making your kit for the first time, remember it should be customized to suit your family’s needs, but the following items are a great starting point:
- Two gallons of water per person.
- A three day supply of non-perishable food for the family and pets.
- A flashlight and batteries.
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio or a NOAA weather radio.
- First aid kit.
- Garbage bags.
- A book, game or something to keep everyone entertained.
Prepare for a power outage. Are you ready for the electricity to go out? Take these steps so you’re ready if your power is out for an extended period of time:
- Address medical concerns. If you have medical supplies that rely on electricity, talk to your doctor about what to do during a power outage. Then talk to the power company so they can put you on their priority list.
- Plug all your electronics in to surge protectors just in case there’s surge while power is being restored.
- Charge your phones and any other electronic devices.
- Fill the car with fuel and then swing by the store to grab some non-perishable foods.
Make a home inventory. If you ever have to make a home storm claim, having a home inventory will help get you back to the way it was more quickly. Begin your home inventory by taking a video of your home and your most valuable possessions. Be sure to include model and serial numbers.
Mother Nature is unpredictable, but you can still prepare for the unexpected. Talk to your American Family Insurance agent to review your homeowners insurance and help you get the storm protection you need.