hear the term storms, vivid images of Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan fill their
minds. Americans have witnessed the destructive forces of Nature haplessly
battering affected cities, towns and communities. Government agencies,
concerned groups and local officials could only do whatever they can to address
the situation and to minimize storm damage that would be inevitably coming in
such scenarios. However, Americans have also seen the importance of
preparedness in the event of storms. Although these were natural disasters and
there was not much that anyone can do in such situations, people can still do
things in preparation.
It is well
understood that a natural disaster can strike anytime and anywhere and in most
cases will occur with minimal or no warnings at all. Some areas are prone to
such natural calamities while others are not. The first thing that homeowners
should comprehend is to know how susceptible their area or community is to such
disasters and to understand the likelihood of such disasters to occur. In any
case, it would still be wise for a homeowner and his or her household to be
prepared for any eventuality, so that the loss of lives and properties as a
result of storm damage would be placed at the very minimum.
the forces of nature is like throwing a feather against the wind. No one knows
the extent of its fury nor can anyone predict the behavior and outcome of such
a storm. One can only prepare a contingency plan so they will not get caught
unawares should the storm hits their communities and their homes.
Destructive Force of Storms
what the category force winds were assigned to a particular hurricane, storms
are basically unpredictable; this makes them even the more dangerous to lives
and properties. To understand how to properly prepare a home or property
against a serious onslaught of a storm, one must first comprehend how lethal
the forces of hurricanes are. In this regard, homeowners and their households
should know this for a fact and should follow to the letter - no matter how
prepared you think you are, if the call to evacuate is announced, then take
heed and evacuate.
several things that make a storm or hurricane a very lethal force of nature,
and the first thing in the list is lightning. Lightning is basically an
electrical discharge resulting from clouds being tossed around in the storm
resulting to positive and negative particles getting separated and thrown
about. Lightning can strike a home, property and even a person and would cause
very considerable amount of damage.
threat that storms pose is the very strong winds, and in some cases would
result to tornadoes or destructive twisters. Such forces can render a structure
or a building into rubble in seconds or they can uproot a whole house and toss
it about as if it were a ragdoll. In some areas and states that are prone to
the occurrence of tornadoes, they have storm shelters with weak points like
eaves and projections removed to make them more withstanding to strong winds.
Such shelters are also reinforced against floods and heavy objects that can be
tossed around in the storm.
to storms, particularly those that are accompanied with heavy rains, is the
possibility of flash floods. Having the same destructive force as tornadoes,
flash floods can be strong enough to sweep everything in its path, including
bridges, cars, houses, buildings, trees and of course - people. Flash floods
usually occur when the amount of rainfall is too much than what the ground or
soil can absorb in a short span of time. Other elements associated with a heavy
downpour from storms include hail, which can also render heavy damage to cars,
houses and properties.
before the Storm
local agencies are always on the watch for abrupt changes in weather conditions
and atmospheric events, some of which can be cataclysmic if ignored. In such
cases weather watches and weather warnings are issued to local communities,
alerting people in a particular area or region that conditions are ripe for a
possibly dangerous weather situation. In line with this, appropriate safety
measures are advised to the public, and homeowners and their households should
be wise enough to heed such advices.
in a weather watch from a warning is that a weather watch is sent out to inform
the public of the possibility of storms and hurricanes, while a weather warning
has already identified and are tracking severe storms that have the potential
of reaching or affecting a particular area.
should take heed of these weather watches and warnings and should continue to
monitor updates particularly on a storm's location, and if necessary, to heed
the call for evacuation.
Things to Do
before the Storm Hits
The act of
preparing your home and household against the possibility of storm damage can
involve minor preparations in a home, to major survival plans. It would be wise
for homeowners to give careful attention and resources to plan and execute
these preparation activities.
are slow and can be monitored effectively to determine when it will make
landfall to a particular area. This will give ample time for residents to
prepare their homes for such an event. Other storms are fast moving and are
very unpredictable. In such cases, federal and local officials will issue a
mandatory evacuation order for people in affected areas. Homeowners should be
knowledgeable in preparing for both events so whatever comes to pass, they will
be ready for it.
* Whether you
are preparing for a possible evacuation or to wait out the storm to pass inside
your homes, the homeowners should prepare sufficient stocks and supplies to
last them for several days. This includes food, water, clothing, blankets,
medical supplies, flashlights, batteries, and radios at the minimum.
* Make careful
considerations for your shelter, either on your own homes or in another area. In
some cases, you may need to move temporarily to a location that is outside the
storm's path, however, should this be your decision you should make the move as
early as possible as highways would likely to get very congested. In
preparation, your vehicle should have enough gas plus reserves. On top of this,
you should also prepare drinking water and food that requires no cooking.
* If you are
staying at home, it would be best to stay in your storm shelter. If this is not
possible, it would be wise to start boarding up windows with plywood and have
extras sets at the ready so you will be prepared for any eventuality of storm
damage. You should also reinforce your roofs and doors by securing them with
hurricane straps. Windows can also be protected by hurricane shutters, but
simple plywood would be sufficient if this system is not in place. However, a
home that is susceptible to storm damage should be reinforced by such devices
and homeowners should be wise enough to invest in them.
* If you are
living in a mobile home or homes that are built on wooden frames, it would be
wise to simply evacuate to a safer place, particularly if the storm brewing is
potential category three to five hurricane. Do not risk your personal safety as
well as your household by opting to stay in such a home during these types of
* Prepare for
the worst case scenario. Stock up on food and drinking water that will last you
for several days and if possible for a couple of weeks. You should store foods
in cans or those food items that require no cooking or extra preparations.
* Have several
flashlights and batteries at the ready and store these in waterproof
containers. If possible, prepare a portable electric generator that is powerful
enough to keep refrigerators or even medical equipments running. Have an ample
supply of fuel and ensure that the exhaust systems are directed outside and
into your storm shelter or home.
* Check your
yard or patio for any possible objects or things that can be converted into a
dangerous projectile by the storm. This includes metal and stone objects like
furniture, grills, pots, signs, fences, swings, figurines, and other similar
stuff. You should also cut down protruding branches from trees or tie down
trees that can be easily uprooted by the storm.
Things to Do
During the Storm
shelter is a logical place to stay during the storm; however, if this is not
possible or you have no such facilities, reinforcing your house from the
storm's onset as discussed earlier would be your logical plan of action. This
includes properly waterproofing basement and walls and sealing cracks and
fissures with proper materials.
authorities issued a hurricane warning, it would be best to stock up on fresh
and clean water using containers and jugs. You should also clean and disinfect
sinks and bathtubs and fill them up with clean water. This is important
particularly if floods occur resulting from the storm. Water supplies can get
contaminated and you will not have enough water for drinking and hygienic
occur during the storm, it would be best to stay clear from floodwaters. Go to
higher levels in the house should floodwaters manage to penetrate your home. Do
not leave valuable items in basements or lower levels and it would be best to
store them inside waterproof containers.
At the height
of the storm and while Mother Nature pounds your home and properties, monitor
the boards and straps that you put in place and be ready for any contingencies
by having materials available. Always keep everyone together and review
evacuation plans and other actions should you encounter the worst case scenario
and would need to abandon the house.
Things to do after
After a storm
strikes, particularly if this is accompanied with strong and buffeting winds
that can know down power lines and structures, it would be best to have an
electrical generator ready. Electrical power may be out or your house may be
flooded with water and would be dangerous to turn the power on.
Water may be
out for several days or may get contaminated until the floods receded and supplies
go back to normal conditions. In such cases, it would be best to conserve your
water. Use sponge bathing for hygienic purposes or use disposable clothing and
storm has passed and the waters receded, the first thing to check is the
structural integrity of the home and to check for any storm damage that may
have occurred that may need immediate repair or restoration. If your home
encountered flooding, you can make use of various water damage restoration
methods to clean up your house and restore it back to livable conditions.
important thing in any disaster preparedness plan, particularly in preparation
for a hurricane or a storm, is to make early and quick decisions and to follow
through with your plans. A storm is a very frightening experience that any
family can encounter in their lives, so it would be best to have them prepared
for any onslaught. Your lives, and properties, may likely depend in it.