Recently, the city of San Antonio and its surrounding counties have been devastated from a storm that brought multiple tornados across the area. Countless numbers of homes, apartments, and vehicles were affected by its wrath, leaving lots of clean up and damage repair to be done across Central and Southern Texas. Luckily, no one was injured during the storms, but officials have estimated that over 150 structures reported damages. While this particular storm has thankfully passed, it’s inevitable that there will be similar storms like it in the future. Although it’s impossible to control the weather, it is possible to control how you prepare for these treacherous situations and inclement weather conditions. Check out the following storm preparation tips to help prepare your home for the future incidents, and to learn how to repair damages during the aftermath.
Prior to a storm, whether it be a hurricane, tornado, blizzard, or any other kind of inclement weather, it’s important to prepare a 72-hour survival kit. The 72-hour (3-day) kit is a minimum of what you should prepare, and depending on the storm and its strength, additional supplies might be needed. Ensure that you have gathered the following 72-hour supplies for each person:
- Drinking Water: 1 gallon of water, per person, per day (don’t forget to include additional water for pets or for mixing baby formula, and 2 quarts, per person, per day for food preparation.
- Water for Sanitation: Be sure to stock up on extra containers of water to use for flushing toilets and bathing.
- Nonperishable Food: Prepare at least 3-7 days of food for each person, including items that do not need cooking or refrigeration. Some of these items might include dried fruit, peanut butter and jelly, bread, canned juices, meats and vegetables, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, cookies, and candy—also be sure to ready to store food with aluminum foil, plastic containers, etc.
- Sanitation Items: Toilet paper, paper towels, soap, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, feminine supplies, personal hygiene (deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste), garbage bags, towels and bleach.
- First Aid Kit: Adhesive bandages various sizes, sterile gauze pads (various sizes), germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer, non-latex gloves, adhesive tape, anti-bacterial ointment, antiseptic spray, cold packs (non refrigerated type), scissors, tweezers, rubbing alcohol, CPR breathing barrier, thermometer, and safety pins.
- Non Prescription Drugs & Prescription Drugs: Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever, Benadryl, peroxide, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, and any necessary prescription medication.
- Entertainment: Board games, books, playing cards.
- Miscellaneous: Needles and thread, batteries, pen or pencil and paper, tool kit, fire extinguisher.
Preparing your home
In addition to stocking up on supplies to get you through the storm, it’s also important to prepare the exterior of your house and its surroundings. Here are few steps to prepare your home:
- Plan a “safe room” in your home—this might be in a basement, garage, or an interior room with no windows.
- Arrange your furniture so it is away from windows, mirrors, and anything glass to prevent possible injury from broken glass during the storm.
- Secure large furniture to the walls by using eye bolts or I brackets.
- Board your windows or use shutters to create a safe layer over top of them.
- Prior to the storm, it’s important that you maintain any trees that are located near your house—prune or trim the canopy so that wind can pass through them more easily. Falling trees can be a major threat to a house during a storm. If you’re looking for more tips, check out our article Tree Trimming and Pruning in South Texas.
Preparing your vehicles
Regardless of whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, or hail storm headed your way, you should always take precautionary measures to protect your car and other vehicles during inclement weather.
- Prior to the storm, take pictures of your vehicle beforehand. It’s important to have proof of your car’s condition before disaster strikes.
- Check your insurance coverage to see what’s protected in case the worse happens.
- Store your car keys, registration, and insurance documentation in a secure and safe place—also, don’t be afraid to make extra copies of the keys and documents.
- Fill up your gas tank before the storm hits.
- When it comes to parking your car, utilize your garage if possible. If you do not have a garage, try parking close to a building to gain partial protection from the wind. Avoid parking your vehicle under trees or power lines.
After the storm damage repair
Following a storm, you will need to examine your house and your vehicle for any damages. Many times there may be areas of your house that are damaged that are not immediately visible or difficult to notice—one of those areas in your roof. Angie’s List has created a list of tips to help you spot roof damage:
- Inspect your attic for leaks or water damage. Also, if any water stains appear on your ceiling or walls, you likely need repairs or a roof replacement.
- Look for signs of storm damage from the ground. Check for missing shingles or missing pieces of metal fascia, including any metal pieces displaced from around your chimney. Also, assess the condition of exhaust pipes, valleys, outer edges or angles where the roof meets the walls.
- Obviously, you’ll notice if a tree fell on your roof. If so, stay out of your home until a professional can determine whether any structural damage occurred. Consider hiring a general contractor or roofer with a general contractor’s license if your home suffered structural damage, as you’ll need more than roof repairs.
- If the storm produced hail, check for roof damage as well as siding damage. Hail damage commonly comes in the forms of dimples, made by smaller chunks of hail that pound the outer layer of shingles.
- Stay safe — avoid going on the roof to check for damage yourself and instead contact a professional roofer.
In addition to your roof, look for other damages and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Take pictures of the damages, and do your best to make temporary repairs to keep the damage from getting worse. Be sure to hold onto your receipts from the repairs, and don’t make any expensive repairs prior to an evaluation from your insurance company. Double check your policy to see what’s covered before making any assumptions.