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Prepare Your Home and Family for Severe Weather or Natural Disasters

    Create a family disaster plan.

  • Decide ahead of time where to go if you are at home, school, work, outdoors, or in a car when severe weather hits.
  • Agree with family members on a designated place to meet if separated. Include a place directly outside the home and in your city or neighborhood.
  • Designate a friend or relative outside the area as your contact if you are separated.
  • Know the difference between a watch and a warning.

  • Watch: "Conditions for severe weather are possible in the specified area with 36 hours."
  • Warning: "Severe weather conditions have been reported by spotters or radar and are expected in the area within 24 hours."
  • Inspect home and yard for potential hazards.

  • Remove outdoor items such as lawn furniture, trash cans, toys and hanging plants as they may become airborne during a storm.
  • Trim or cut down weak trees and branches which could easily be broken off by high winds and damage homes.
  • Keep rain gutters, outside stairwells, window well, drain lines and down spouts clear to prevent flooding in high rains.
  • Protect home openings.

  • Protect or cover windows, entry doors, sliding glass doors, garage doors and gable end vents.
  • Secure backup power.

  • Flashlights cannot power refrigerators and candles are fire hazards.
  • The American Red Cross suggests that permanently installed stationary home generators are best suited for providing backup power to the home, over portable generators. Read more
Download the Severe Weather Preparedness Checklist

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