More Than Thunder: How to Prepare for Summer’s Biggest Storms

You are reading this because you want to prepare your home and family for storms you feel are getting a little worse as each year goes by. The accumulating data even has NASA detailing how storms are getting worse. From the early Pioneer days, Americans have been a resilient people who do what it takes to be ready when Mother Nature rages. Here is how you can be ready for the worst summer storms.

Develop Your Evacuation Plan

It is important to address it up front that you need to not only know when to get out but how to safely and quickly do it. Based on your lifestyle, considerations of acceptable risks, necessity of sheltering in place, finances, the weather data and more, you need to concretely as possible decide when to evacuate. Instead of wavering in making the decision to leave, your family needs a point where, when reached, you get out quickly. Be prepared to leave with “Go Bags”, and have a tertiary evacuation route plan—three routes to safety—in case your primary and secondary routes are impassable. Better safe than sorry really does apply here.

Develop a Fortified Shelter

You can accomplish this a little bit at a time to budget the expense. This may be a storm cellar if you live in Tornado Alley, or it may be a specially designed and anchored safe room in your home constructed to weather winds and flooding. Fortification includes the shelter meeting design standards to withstand the worst recorded natural weather or seismic event in your region as well as containing water, food, medications and other items your family members—including pets—will need to shelter in place during a storm.

Establish a Backup Power Supply

If you have not experienced a protracted power outage, you can get a taste of what it is like by shutting off the main breaker at your service panel on a hot summer day when everyone is home. The lack of air conditioning and Wi-Fi is likely going to be the first two things noticed to be gone. It will get hot fast, the kids will get cranky, and your refrigerated and frozen food starts to warm up. If you have a well, the water is off too, and there is no juice to even power a small fan.

Even a portable gas-powered generator comes in handy in these situations, but a whole-house generator powered by a large propane tank or underground diesel fuel storage tank is better. If you are connecting to household circuits at the breaker box, be sure to install an automatic transfer switch, like those at Enercon Engineering Inc, to protect power line workers and emergency personnel from dangerous back current feeds from your generator.

Manage Your Supplies

It is easy to become lackadaisical about keeping enough water, food for people and pets, medications, gas for cars and other supplies sufficiently stocked and rotated for freshness on hand for sheltering in place. If the storm season was mild last year, you may not be so adamant about being ready this year. If there is a history in your geographic location of residents going without for two weeks, then you should have at least two weeks of everything you need to keep life as normal as possible. What is considered as needed varies so greatly from one family to the next that a list cannot be supplied here. You need to work that out among your family, and make sure your supplies never drop below a minimum standard year round.

Being prepared takes a bit of initial and ongoing work. Just incorporate your storm preparation management into your daily routines, and delegate specific tasks to family members capable of responsibly and efficiently completing them. Put one person in charge of checking to make sure everyone is doing their jobs, which may include everything from making sure there is enough bottled water on hand to routinely checking that the backup generator works and has fuel.


This is an archive of: