Home Safety During Catastrophic Weather: Protecting Your Property and Loved Ones

Home Safety During Catastrophic Weather: Protecting Your Property and Loved Ones

Meet Ed

Instructor Ed Jones has over 30 years of experience in theindustry, has the title of MasterWater Restorer, is an Institute ofInspection Cleaning andRestoration Certification (IICRC)-approved instructor, and hasserved on the S500-2021consensus body committee todevelop the most recent standard.

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In this blog, we'll consider how to secure your home before evacuating it and safeguards you can install to help keep you safer, for example, from any natural hazards that occur with some frequency in your area. On the U.S. East Coast, this includes hurricanes; throughout the country, this includes tornadoes; and on the West Coast, this includes earthquakes.

Evacuate or Shelter-in-Place?

The FEMA template guides you through the planning steps, but you must prepare to evacuate or shelter in place during each event. Using guidance from DisasterAssistance.gov, let's consider how to react to a given situation. The answer varies according to the natural hazard.

  • Blizzard/snowstorm: Shelter-in-place with ample backup methods for heat and cooking.
  • Earthquake: Shelter in place, crouching with your hands over your head inside a reinforced interior doorway.
  • Fire or wildfire: Evacuate as soon as possible once the threat develops.
  • Flash floods: Shelter-in-place after getting to higher ground.
  • Flood: Evacuate as soon as possible once the threat develops.
  • Hail: Shelter-in-place in a well-covered environment away from windows and skylights.
  • Hurricane: Evacuate at least the day before the forecasted landfall.
  • Thunderstorm: Shelter-in-place away from windows and skylights.
  • Tornado: Shelter-in-place in a storm shelter or basement.
  • Volcano: Evacuate as soon as warned or aware of an imminent eruption.

What to Do When Severe Weather Strikes While You're Driving

In the case of tornadoes, if one touches down while driving, quickly turn so that you travel in a direction parallel to the tornado and at least one mile away. Tornado spotters and chasers use this method to safely keep the wind event in sight but far enough away from them that they can evade it if it changes course. If you are caught in a hail storm while driving, pull off the road and go into covered parking. This includes gas stations with covered pumps, covered parking garages, etc. Any form of a roof over you and your vehicle helps to keep you safe.

Maintain Your Personal Safety

Creating a home emergency preparedness plan provides you and your family with actionable steps to take when a natural hazard threatens your area. Creating a written plan and practicing its implementation in advance makes staying safe easier. Having a written plan provides you with something to reference when an imminent threat might mean you're not thinking as clearly as usual. Visit the Accuserve blog again next month when we'll examine flood preparedness and flood insurance.

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