With the recent hurricane season, it’s important to prepare your property for any potential storm. If you live in an area that experiences hurricanes, tornadoes, or other extreme weather events it’s important to have an emergency plan in place. A good storm plan should include preparation before the storm comes and what you’ll do after depending on how bad of a hit your property takes.
How Do You Prepare a Storm Emergency Plan?
Know Your Risks
Knowing the risks you’re facing is the first step to any good storm plan. What areas of your property are likely to flood? Will trees come down during high winds and block roads or damage buildings on your property? Identifying these potential problem spots will help determine an effective evacuation plan if need be.
Once you know your risks, you need to write them down. Make a list of what you need to do if the storm hits. Ensure you prioritize the items on your list based on how likely they are to happen and the potential damage if you don’t take action.
Using a risk matrix is a great way to prioritize your list. It’s a simple spreadsheet with columns for your risks and the priority you want to give them.
With this list, planning becomes much easier as you can see what’s likely and important and work towards those items first. You’ll also know if something isn’t possible because it falls too low on the priority list or is just not likely enough to be worth taking action over.
Prepare Your Property with the Threat in Mind
Next, think about how bad of a hit your property will take from whatever storm may come—this should help determine any safety measures you need to put in place before the storm hits. If there are certain areas where water could build up (like near an exterior wall) putting down sandbags will help keep your property safe.
Make sure you have an emergency kit put together with all of the essentials ready to go in case you need to leave your home—batteries, flashlights, food, water for several days if needed are just some of the items that should be on hand. If possible, consider putting together multiple kits so each family member has one and can grab it quickly if they need to head out on short notice.
Build a Team
This is an important step and one that many people forget about. Once the storm is coming, it’s important to have a plan in place for how your family will get home or who you’ll contact if they’re not able to make it back on their own after the storm has passed. If there are children involved, know where they go to school so you can pick them up quickly when things settle down again.
Building a team of family members who are willing to help out during the storm will make things much easier. This can be anywhere from neighbors you know well, friends or relatives nearby, or even just your significant other’s work—knowing how quickly people can come together in an emergency is key.
Make Critical Information Quickly Accessible
This is key and can be hard to do. If an emergency is happening, you’ll want quick contact information for those who may come by your home or know where all of the important documents are stored.
Putting this information in a safe place that everyone knows about will make it much easier when things get frantic as they likely will during such a severe storm. This could include putting together an envelope with housing deeds, insurance policies, and any other pertinent data needed should someone else need access to it quickly after the storm has passed—this also ensures you have everything if you’re not able to go back into your house right away yourself (like if there’s extensive damage).
This plan requires some work beforehand but having one makes dealing with most weather emergencies far easier. You may need to store all the critical information digitally in a safe place, but if you have the original copies in an accessible spot is also wise.
Update Your Alert and Response Procedures
This is another step that many people forget—even more important than having an emergency kit and a team ready, you need to make sure everyone knows what they should do in case of certain weather emergencies.
This could include knowing where the nearest shelter is or who will be checking on your home if you can’t get back right away after the storm has passed. Knowing these details ahead of time means it’s much easier for everyone involved when something happens rather than scrambling at the last minute to put together plans with neighbors about how things are going to work out.
Don’t Forget About Pets
If there are pets in your house, don’t forget them during this planning stage! While most shelters won’t allow animals inside (and it would be dangerous anyway) you’ll need to know in advance where they’ll stay and what you’ll do with them if the storm is severe enough that it’s not safe for anyone.
If your pets will be staying at a pet boarding place, make sure their records are up-to-date so when things get hectic there isn’t any confusion about whether or not they’re supposed to go outside (or who needs to come to pick them up). It also helps ensure everyone stays calm during such an emergency.
Test the Plan
Once you have created the plan—and it’s been worked out with everyone involved—make sure to test it. This means you should each participate in a practice drill and go through what will happen when the storm hits, including checking on pets and gathering up any important supplies (like extra batteries or candles).
This is especially helpful for children who may not know how they’ll get home from school during such an emergency but need to be prepared ahead of time—it gives them something else to worry about rather than being scared by all the chaos happening around them. If possible, do this more than once so family members can see firsthand why certain things are included in their own kits as well as where everything needs to go after there’s a hurricane warning issued.
Don’t forget that you can always make changes to your emergency plan as needed, but the more work you put into it ahead of time the better off everyone will be.
As hurricanes and other severe weather events become more prevalent, having a plan is essential to staying safe while still enjoying life. While we can’t stop these storms from happening, preparing for them ahead of time ensures that when they do happen there’s less stress about how to ensure your safety and security.