Hurricanes, hail storms, floods, tornadoes - extreme weather is a fact of life when you live in Texas. Preparing for natural disasters is a must for all homeowners. Share this storm preparation guide with buyers and they’re sure to appreciate it when bad weather rolls in.
Need to Know Info
Knowing how to react when a storm hits can save valuable minutes. It can also minimize damage and make your home safer during a natural disaster.
Know How to Shut Off the Gas - If you smell gas during or after a storm the lines need to be shut off immediately in case there’s a leak. Call your gas company for guidance on what tools are needed and the proper steps for shutting off your gas.
Know How to Shut Off the Water - To avoid contamination, it may be necessary to shut off the water. The main shut-off valve should be out in the front yard near the street or sidewalk. Turning the valve clockwise with an adjustable wrench should shut the water off, but keep in mind it could be very difficult to turn.
Know Where Your Electric Circuit Box is and How It Works - Usually the electric circuit box is located in the garage or basement, but that’s not a given. Once you find it, open the box and locate the “main” circuit breaker switch. That’s the one that will cut the power off to the entire house.
Know Your Evacuation Routes - Being familiar with the designated evacuation routes near your house is an important part of making an emergency plan.
Your Where Designated Shelters Are Located - It’s also good to know where the closest designated shelter is if you can’t evacuate.
Prepping for Damage Prevention
There’s no way to predict the weather, but you can prepare for the worst to prevent potential damage.
- Label the switches in your fuse box.
- Keep important documents and irreplaceables in a waterproof/fireproof safe deposit box on the highest level.
- Put fire extinguishers in the kitchen and garage.
- Plug electronics into powerstrips so it’s easier to cut the power.
- Add storm shutters to the windows.
- Cut back tree branches that hang over the roof.
- Designate a safe spot for storing outdoor objects that aren’t anchored down.
- Keep the gutters cleaned and operable.
- Fix grade issues that can create flooding.
Essential Supplies to Have on Hand
FEMA recommends that everyone stock up on supplies before a storm hits so you’re prepared when it matters most. Here’s what to gather so you can weather the storm.
- Bottled Water - The rule of thumb is to have one gallon per person per day for at least three days.
- First aid kit
- First aid manual
- Battery-operated radio
- NOAA weather radio
- Extra batteries
- Utility knife
- Cell phone with charger (pre-charged portable charger is ideal)
- Non-perishable food (three days worth)
- Manual can opener
- Extra prescriptions and medications
- One warm blanket for each person
- Map of the local area - highlight evacuation routes and shelter locations
- ID cards
- Toiletries and hygiene products
- Rain jacket for each family member
- Sturdy pair of shoes for each family member
- One change of clothes per person
- Basic set of hand tools
- Copy of insurance and medical documents
- Household bleach (a few drops can be used to purify water)
- Waterproof matches
- Fire extinguisher
- Paper dinnerware - plates, cups and napkins
- Plastic utensils
- Garbage bags
- $100+ cash
Have pets? Don’t forget to include a few items for your furry family members.
- Extra gallon or two of water
- Pet food
- Food and water bowls
No matter how well you secure your house, you should always evacuate if you’re advised to do so. Keep the supplies above in a bug-out bag so you grab and go in a moment’s notice.