For weeks now, we have experienced temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. The pollen is finally at a lower level, but it’s hell hot in the metro Atlanta area. No doubt, the dog days of summer have arrived early. Just ask any of our fur babies – Zen, Ella or Brody – as the temperatures rise, you can find them lying on the AC vent soaking it all in, sprawled on a tile floor or just curled up somewhere cool in the shade.
Well, your house can’t hide inside! And summertime means severe weather chances increase in the South. The afternoon showers have already started with a vengeance. We’ve had lighting, hail and heavy rains. Now it is time to be on the lookout for hurricanes, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash flooding. The good news is that you can prepare your home and family proactively.
Weatherproof Your Home
- If you have trees near your home, then make sure to inspect them for potential hazards. Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to prevent these flying objects. Strong winds can cause trees and branches to fall – and potentially damage your home.
- Clear clogged gutters and downspouts. Make sure that heavy rain can easily run through the gutters and downspouts. Otherwise, it will spill over the sides and land in areas where it can soak through to your home’s foundation, causing flooding and structural damage. You should also check to make sure your gutters are securely fastened to your home.
- Secure all doors. If you live in an area that frequently gets heavy storms, consider installing steel entry doors. High winds can easily tear through double doors, French doors and sliding patio doors that have no structural support between the two sides. You may need to purchase and install special hardware to more adequately secure the doors where they meet. Try bolts that fasten the door into the framing at the top and the bottom.
- Check your roof. A strong roof is essential for your house to withstand a severe storm. Apply sealing around your home’s chimney or vent pipes. This will help prevent water from seeping into your home. Look for loose or chipped roofing tiles. It may be time for a new roof!
Create an Emergency Supply Kit
It is a good idea to have an emergency supply kit in your home. It is helpful in a variety of circumstances including natural disasters. Be prepared for losing electricity or if you are forced to evacuate your home. Your kit should contain:
- Three-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food
- Battery-operated radio
- Flashlights, with extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Prescription medicines
- Pet supplies
- Important family documents
For more ideas on stocking your emergency supply kit, visit www.ready.gov.
Develop a Family Communications Plan
Since your family may not all be together when an emergency occurs, it’s important for everyone to know your communication plan. Ready.gov recommends choosing one family member for everyone to contact. Make sure children know their parents’ cell phone numbers. It’s also helpful to send text messages, as they are more likely to go through than phone calls during an emergency. Parents should also know the emergency plans in place at their children’s day care and schools.
Your family should also have a meeting place if you are forced to evacuate your home. This includes a spot in your neighborhood and a place to meet if your neighborhood is evacuated. Practice evacuation drills during the day and at night so that everyone knows where to go.
We hope that you will never need to use your emergency communications plan or emergency supply kit, but in the event that you do, it’s important to be ready and prepared!