By Jerry Jones, CR
Preparing Your Home or Business
Unfortunately the end of hurricane season and hot, humid weather does not mean our needs for contingency planning are over. In fact we will continue to feel the effects this winter in the form of higher heating costs (possibly 40 – 50% higher) and insurance coverage issues.
That means it is more important than ever to Plan, Prepare and Protect your home and your family. Prepare your home for winter. Plan for the worst. Protect your family by stocking up on emergency supplies and developing an emergency plan in the event of lengthy power outages.
Let’s get started.
- Make sure you have adequate insulation under your house and in your attic
- Clear roof: Remove fallen limbs, twigs, leaves, moss, etc.
- Check roof for missing or damaged shingles or flashing. Repair existing damage
- Check chimneys and plumbing vents for blockages, nests, and damaged flashing
- Clean and secure gutters and downspouts. Check slope of gutters to be sure water flows to downspouts. Be sure water coming out of downspouts is diverted away from structure
- Remove leaves from foundation and be sure landscaping diverts water away from structure
- Clear window wells and check seals.
- Trim any tree branches or shrubbery touching structure or roof
- Check caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doors and replace any broken glass panes
- Reset storm windows and storm doors for winter
- Look at power lines, telephone lines, cable lines, etc. and call appropriate provider about low hanging lines or tree branches on them
- Disconnect garden water hoses and insulate spigots and pipes
- Check for any holes or cracks in foundation, siding, or doors that “critters” may use to enter structure for a “winter home” or that could allow weather elements to penetrate structure
- Close or cover foundation vents.
- Change furnace filters and have unit serviced for winter
- Check water heater, flush if needed, install insulation blanket if needed
- Have clothes dryer and duct hose checked for lint buildup and be sure flap covering exterior vent is working properly
- Be sure to replace backup batteries in smoke alarms, CO2 monitors, etc. and be sure fire extinguishers are fully charged
Preparing for Storm Outages
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Portable radios/TV’s with extra batteries
- Cell phone with extra batteries
- Candles, oil lamps, propane lamps with ample fuel and matches
- Cookstove with fuel or charcoal grills and charcoal.
- Firewood for wood burning fireplaces or woodstoves
- Kerosene or propane heaters with fresh fuel, where applicable
- Bottled drinking water
- Canned and non-perishable food with hand operated can opener
- Disposable eating and drinking utensils, plates, etc
- Paper towels, toilet paper, toiletries
- Pet food, litter, blankets
- Baby supplies, where applicable
- Extra blankets, towels, linens
- Toys and games for kids
- Reading materials
- Shovel, rake, broom, mop, bucket
- Plastic tarp, heavy duty garbage bags, and tie-down rope
- Basic tools kit and duct tape
- De-icer salt for sidewalk and driveway
- Vehicles fueled and prepared with battery jumper cables, window scraper, de-icer
- Stocked first aid kit, minimum 2 week supply of prescription medicines, OTC basic medications
- List of emergency telephone numbers
- Emergency power generator with fuel, if possible
- Battery powered alarm clock
Preparing all Occupants for Emergency Evacuation
- Prepare a Disaster Plan and Disaster Survival Kit
- Identify two ways to exit each room of structure.
- Identify where everyone should meet (1) on-site, outside structure and (2) away from home
- Identify person not occupying property to call as contact person
- Identify items such as computer, home records, bills, valuables, weapons, collectibles, etc. to remove from structure if possible and assign priority
- Photograph and inventory basic and valuable contents in each room for possible future reference.
- Identify location to board pets
- Have copy of emergency telephone numbers
- Secure one week’s emergency cash fund
- Take three days clothing for each person
- Take prescription medicines and medical supplies
- Take at least one toy or game for each child
- Divide responsibilities and assign to individuals as a team
Resources on the Web
www.fema.gov/kids – Info for parents, teachers and kids
www.fema.gov/library/famplan.shtm – Disaster Plan
www.fema.gov/library/diskit.shtm – Family disaster supplies kit.
www.redcross.org/pubs/dspubs/childmatls.html – Materials for children
www.redcross.org/services/prepare/0,1082,0_239_,00.html – General Emergency Plan Preparation