Article by Dan McCue, Grinnell Re, AINS, Digital Marketing Strategist
April showers can certainly bring May flowers, but they also bring wind, hail, lightning, and floods – weather events that can do a lot of damage to property. Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 13-17, so we’ ve put together a list of some simple things you can do to prepare your home for spring storms.
INSPECT YOUR HOME
- Check your roof. A do-it-yourself inspection of buildings may reveal weak areas that need attention. Look for loose siding and roofing materials — especially shingles and metal panels. These may blow off easily and take other materials along with them.
- Make sure you have surge protection. A lightning strike or power outage could fry your expensive devices and burn out your wiring.
- Keep up with tree-trimming. Dead branches can cause a lot of damage when they land on your house or your car.
- Clean out your gutters. If they’re plugged up, the water will find somewhere else to go — like your basement, between the siding and exterior walls, or through leaky windows.
- Test your sump pump. If it’s not working, it won’t do you much good if water does end in your basement. (Learn more how to protect yourself from a wet basement.)
- Batten down the hatches. If you know bad weather is coming, put away or secure any outdoor furniture, toys, bikes, etc.
PACK YOUR EMERGENCY KIT
Packing emergency kits for your home and your car will prepare you and your family for severe weather. Ready.gov and the National Weather Service recommend including the following items in your kit.
- Flashlights and extra batteries.
- First aid kit that includes necessary medications, as well as bandages, ointment, and disinfectant wipes. If you have small children, also include formula and diapers.
- Non-perishable food. Include protein-rich foods such as nuts and energy bars and canned foods. Pack a manual can opener, too.
- Water is even more important than food. Pack at least 1 gallon of water per person per day.
- Basic tools including pliers, a wrench, and screwdrivers.
- Important documents such as your identification, insurance information, and banking information. Not securing these documents could expose you to potential fraud.
- Radio, either battery-powered or hand-cranked.
- Clothes including gloves, hat, and a rain poncho. You may also want a change of clothes for each member of your family.
- Blankets or sleeping bags.
- Cell phone chargers, including your standard home and car models, but also portable and solar chargers as well.
- Pet supplies for your pet, including food, water, and medicine.
- Cat litter for better tire traction.
- Jumper cables for your vehicle.
- A whistle or flares to signal for help.
- Toilet paper and tissues.