How to prepare your home (and your family) for storms in Richmond.
It’s that time of year again—and unfortunately for us, hurricane season started off with a bang! Hopefully everyone has recovered from Irene and is back in the swing of things. In case you weren’t feeling as well-prepared as you’d like to have been, here is some advice on what to do the next time Richmond is in the path of a storm.
Supplies to stock up on before the storm:
- Water. We recommend one gallon per person per day that you might need it. And don’t forget your pets in that count! Having a few of these 5 gallon jugs around the house is also really helpful. Fill them up with tap water before the storm and you’ll have an easily accessible supply for washing hands and dishes.
- Ice or Dry Ice: Keep a cooler filled—if you lose power, use the ice to salvage perishable foods.
- Food: Think about high-energy, high protein foods that don’t require refrigeration or much preparation. Nuts, peanut butter, crackers, tuna, and granola all make the top of our list.
- Batteries and flashlights: Make sure you have plenty of backups, and set them out in a place that you and your family can find easily in the dark. During Irene I found these light sticks particularly helpful for lighting bathrooms and hallways.
- Gas: Fill up that gas tank! After the storm hits it may take a while for stations to get power. Plus, this way you can charge your phones while you wait for power to be restored!
- Cash: Many stores may be able to get up and running off of generators after a storm. Their credit card systems may not.
- Anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.
- Propane or charcoal for your grill.
- NOAA weather radio: Make sure you can hear any potential warnings such as they are issued.
Before the storm hits:
- Clean any dirty laundry and run the dishwasher.
- Take a nice long shower before the storm hits—you may need to hold out for a few days without hot water.
- Make sure you’ve charged your phone before the storm hits. Keep it plugged in whenever its not in use.
- If you have a landline, make sure you have a non-wireless/digital phone available to use. Even if the power is out, your phone line should still work.
- Fill up your bathtub with water. If the water supply is affected you will still be able to use this water to flush toilets.
- Move all yard accessories, patio furniture and grills into your garage or basement.
- Make sure your screens are secure. If they are loose, remove them until after the storm passes.
- Trim back any trees or shrubs to reduce the weight and strain on their root systems during the storm. Make sure you secure any debris from this process.
- If your car(s) cannot be parked in a garage, make sure they are parked out of the reach of trees, and preferably away from low-lying areas.
- Take a quick look at your gutters and make sure that nothing is obstructed.
- Check in with your neighbors and see if they need help making their own preparations
During the storm:
- Minimize the risk to your electronics by unplugging computers and appliances that are not in use.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Remain on the lowest level of your home, away from windows and doors if possible.
- Stay alert! Keep your weather radio handy, or check in with a local television station to make sure no additional precautions are necessary. If you’re on twitter we highly recommend following @WxDan for extensive coverage of our local conditions.
- Don’t panic! These storms may take a while to pass—try to relax and enjoy the time with your family (or a good book).
After the storm:
- When it is safe to do so, survey the exterior of your home to make sure there is no structural damage.
- Watch for downed power lines. Report these to the power company as soon as possible and stay away from them until otherwise notified.
- Listen to the local news and make sure that the water supply is still safe to use.
- Do not drive around unless you need to. Keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles and utility repair staff.
- If you’re going to use a generator, keep it outside and away from doors and windows. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that kills dozens of people every year due to improper use.
- Check in with your neighbors and make sure they are safe.
We know there are many other steps that you can take to prepare for a hurricane. Do you have any helpful tips from your own experience? We’d love to hear them—just leave a comment here, or on our facebook page.