Keeping Your Family Safe During Storm Season

In the Midwest, the weather deserves more than just small talk. Stories of destructive tornadoes and floods have been all over the news, so, naturally, Midwesterners want to be prepared in case of a weather-based emergency. However, it’s not just tornadoes and floods that can do expensive damage; strong winds, torrential stormdownpours and hail can be dangerous to people and property as well. Here are some tips to keep your family and your outdoor belongings safe during a storm.

Be Aware

First of all, it’s important to know what is going on with the weather. Sometimes, storms can come on with little or no visual warning in the sky. Luckily, with modern technology it is pretty easy to stay on top of severe weather warnings. Television, radio, internet, and even cell phone apps can keep you up to date on any dangerous weather that may be coming your way.
If you note that there is some kind of storm eminent, and you have enough time, you can take steps to avoid losing backyard furniture. With a properly organized garage, there should be plenty of space to temporarily store grills, tables and patio furniture, and any large (but moveable) children’s toys. Remember though, that you must make sure you have at least an hour before the storm is expected—no material item is ever worth your life. This is really only applicable if the coming storm is just a windstorm or thunderstorm. Don’t attempt to protect anything other than yourself and your family during a tornado warning.

Know What to Do

One of the most important steps in preparing for severe weather conditions is to have an emergency plan. Involve the entire family in this so that no one is left out and therefore prone to panic. Know where to go in an emergency situation, what to get (if anything), who to contact, and where to meet. If you don’t have a safe, sturdy place in your home, make sure everyone knows where the closest emergency shelter is. It’s a good idea to have the emergency contact be a person out of town, since in severe weather, phone lines often go down.

Emergency Supplies

Have emergency supplies ready, especially during storm season. You can keep these in a tote bag or—if you safe place is in your own home—a box or crate. What supplies you have will depend upon your situation and your family. Of course, you should have lots of candles and a lighter or matches, flashlights, water, and some non-perishable food that doesn’t require cooking. If you have children, keep some games and books to keep them calm and entertained; if you have infants, remember formula, if needed, blankets, and diapers. Keep these supplies either in your safe place, or somewhere easily accessible.

A severe storm can be a stressful and even devastating occurrence. The above steps are simple, but important to ensuring maximum safety to your most prized possessions: your family.

Photo courtesy of John Stockton.

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