April showers brings May flowers, so that doesn’t make you think to prepare your home for a storm now does it? But with those wonderful Springs rains, they also bring a huge amount of rainfall, high winds, storms, hail and even tornadoes. Storms across the Tri-State area (Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio River Valley) can be deadly, and affect millions of dollars in property damage, and wreak havoc on your precious home. In anticipation to the upcoming rains, we’ve put together a checklist of ways that you can prepare your home for a storm in the Ohio River Valley.
Close your windows and park your car in the garage. Yeah, that’s it. No seriously, that’s what most people think of when they’re trying to brace for a huge Spring thunderstorm that’s about to reach their doorstep. The number one preparation to make when you know a storm is coming, is to check your roof. There are three things in life that are basics: food to eat, health, and a roof over your head. This saying could never be more true right now, at this moment, when you and your family are preparing for a dangerous storm around WV, OH and/or KY. Grab a ladder, and inspect all areas of you roof, especially where large quantities of water might gather and become obstructed in it’s decent to the ground level.
Did you take notice of those dead and dying branches hanging too close and low to your home? Now is the time to prune them up. Hail storms cause over 1 billion dollars in damages every year in the United States, according to insurance statistics. With all that hail comes the potential for it to pulverize your dead branches, and cause them to break under the weight of all that pressure. There are plenty of tree service providers in the area that would be happy to come out and prune/cut back your limbs, but in case your budget is low, you can simply go to Walmart or some other large big-box retailer and purchase a pruning stick to prepare your home for a storm.
Pack up an emergency preparation kit. This might sound elementary, but this must not be overlooked, especially if you have small children or elderly folks in your home. Your emergency kit should include: (not in order)
Batteries: that are able to power all of your battery-operated devices (AAA, AA, C and D are the most common.)
Food: Frankly is doesn’t matter what types of food you prep for the approaching storm, but we highly recommend dehydrated or canned foods that keep in storage for a long time, sometimes even a decade. You need enough food to last each person in your family, a week. Some other “preppers” recommend a stock supply of a few days, but it’s most-likely never enough, and it’s better to be more prepared than not.
Medical Supplies: Think about the things that you use from time-to-time. Do you get frequent headaches? Do you have a chronic illness that requires daily medication like allergy medication, and/or depression medication? We can’t stress to you how important this is. In addition to basic medications, don’t forget trauma medical supplies like bandages, medical tape, gauze pads, antiseptic spray, scissors, iodine, and a finger splint. A great resource for a medical emergency kit can be found at REI.com if you are trying to prepare your home for a storm.
Bedding: Do you have a young child that sleeps in a Pack-n-Play? If so, you might want to purchase an extra one from Craigslist or a garage sale just to have an extra one that’s ready to go in case of these storm emergencies. Don’t forget your own bedding like a sleeping bag, or simple throw blankets in case a storm comes in the winter and you’re without heat.
Communication: When my wife and I are about to be hit by a huge storm, we take one of our cell phones and turn it off, and plug it up to a wall outlet so that it will charge as fast as possible and remain charged in case we need to use it for emergencies. Do not turn on your emergency phone until your main mobile device is dead. The other phone (my phone), we keep plugged in, and monitor weather through the Weather Channel App for Android or iPhone. The point here is to have mobile devices that are fully charged, and you have backups to your current mobile devices. Tablets won’t do you any good, unless they can act as a HotSpot in case you want to turn that feature on. In addition to the cell phones, get a radio. Yeah you heard me – a radio. When is the last time you used a turn-dial to adjust your radio station? Well, you should get used to it because this is a dying art, and one that could come in handy during storms. Teach your children how to use these life-saving communication devices.
Luxury Items: Smoking is bad for your health, that’s the truth. We’re not advocating for smoking here, but we are reminding you that if you’ve been a smoker (or a drinker) your whole life, and you plan on going cold-turkey, you can kiss those dreams goodbye. The stress of loosing power, living out of a box, and taking care of your family (men and women) are immense and you don’t want to loss your cool during those times. Do you like to read? Then back up a little backpack with some luxury items like books when you are going to prepare your home for a storm.
Check your gutters. Earlier I mentioned that you should check your roof, and that’s true but gutters are a completely separate issue. Sometimes they can have serious blockage inside the gutters and downspouts. I’ve seen completely well built homes bust a huge leak near a roof seam because the gutter next to it wasn’t cleaned out and it diverted the water up against a vertical angle on the roof and the water found it’s way in. It ended up costing the home-owner about 4,000 to repair and fix the water damage caused by a stopped up gutter! Please, check your gutters, or if you can’t do it yourself, hire someone to clean your gutters for you.
Secure outdoor items that might get blown around during a high-wind situation. This can include items like lawn chairs (the plastic kind but even the metal), outdoor mini swimming pools that kids play in, plants of all types (even large planter pots can get turned over), sporting equipment (soccer balls, nets, basketball goals can be laid on it’s side, etc), and yard art/decoration (gnomes, windmills, etc).
Did you think I would forget about your pets? Nope, got them covered too. Take fido’s little dog house that he’s been living in for all these years, and pull it up next to your house. The optimal option is to bring the dog inside if you know the storm is going to be really bad; however if the storm is calling for lots of rain, but maybe not a lot of high winds, you can leave your dog outside as long as they’ve got their doghouse secured to something like anchored to the ground or tied off to the side of the house. If you’ve got farm animals, make sure that they’re all turned into the barn and respective spaces that can provide them with the best shelter during a storm. I almost forgot cats, if you’ve got cats, just leave them outside, they don’t need you anyways. They’ll be fine on their own.
Double-check your windows. Windows can cause home-owners a lot of headaches and problems when storms hit. The major thing that you want to check is the seal around the window(s) and also the overhead ledge or canopy that’s is over the window. (overhang). Sometimes, even good windows can’t effectively shed water unless they have an overhang above them. It’s just simple physics. Fahey Exteriors partners with some awesome windows that can help you prepare your home for a storm in the West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio areas. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us about that if you’re interested.
Thanks for checking out some useful information about how to prepare your home for a storm and we truly hope that this has been informative and educational for our readers. Should you need any assistance with getting some questions answered about your home’s exterior and how it measures up to the coming storm, don’t hesitate to call us or contact us.