April 22nd was the start of Severe Weather Awareness Week for Pennsylvania. Every spring, local and state emergency management agencies and the National Weather Service come together to inform us about the dangers of the upcoming severe weather season (Mid-May to November). We often hear weather forecasters warning us about upcoming “severe” weather on the news. While an exceptionally hot day might seem pretty “severe” to you, it wouldn’t be considered severe by the experts. The National Weather Service recognizes five types of weather as being severe. These include floods, hail, lightning, wind and tornados. When these events occur, homeowners are generally advised to take the necessary steps to stay safe and protect their properties.
Severe weather can produce hazardous conditions like high-speed winds, large hail, flooding, and the impact far surpasses average storms in sheer force and potential for damage. Extended wet periods can saturate the soil and lead to rising floodwaters triggered by a rain storm with little to no warning. Knowing what to expect from severe weather can make a big difference in how prepared you feel to get through it with your loved ones and your home intact. You can’t control the weather but you can ensure that your property is ready. Before severe weather hits, consider taking the following measures:
Recognize Emergency Alerts
Public safety officials use timely and reliable systems to alert you and your family in the event of potential severe weather events. Knowledge is power and when weather conditions look like they might take a turn for the worst, severe weather alerts can arm you with up-to-the-minute information to help you make better decisions. And know the difference between a Watch (Conditions for severe weather are possible in the specified area within 36 hours) and a 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 that could easily be broken off by high winds and damage homes. Keep rain gutters, outside stairwells, window wells, drain lines and down spouts clear to prevent flooding in high rains. Protect or cover windows, entry doors, sliding glass doors, garage doors and gable end vents.
Build an Emergency Kit
You need food, water and basic disaster supplies for an extended period without the services we usually take for granted like transportation, food, electricity, and water. These supplies should be able to sustain you for at least 72 hours, as it might be a while before emergency personnel can reach you. Assemble your emergency kit well before severe weather strikes. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, so keep your emergency kit in an easy-to-access place.
Create a Family Communication Plan
Your family may be scattered around town at school, work and daycare when a storm hits. That’s why you should create a family communication plan now. Establish how you’ll get in touch, reunite and handle different situations. Make sure every family member has their parents’ and siblings’ mobile numbers are programmed in the phones. Choose a local place where your family members should meet if the home is unsafe. This might be a landmark or even a parent’s workplace.
Purchase A Standby Generator
Severe weather can result in widespread power outages. A loss of power does not cause property damage, but the consequences of losing power can be dangerous for your home. Losing power will shut down your HVAC system, refrigerator, and most importantly, your sump pump during a storm. The cost of the damage that can result from a failed sump pump alone is enough to consider getting a permanent or portable backup power generator for your home.
Need Help? Call a Professional
When severe weather strikes and your property undergoes extensive damage, contact the certified experts at Xtreme Home Improvement. We’ll be there to assess, mitigate and properly restore the damaged areas back to pre-loss condition or better. Our goal is to do everything we can to expedite the process and get you back into your home or business as quickly and safely as possible. We aim to prove our dedication to the job by being accessible night and day.