The warnings are rolling through, either through the outdoor warning sirens, your local television stations or radio, cable television, and your cell phone app—or all of them have warned you of a potential storm about to affect your area. Whether it's flash floods, tornadoes, winter storms, unusual amounts of rain, or even a hurricane, are you prepared?
If you aren't or haven't prepared, do you know how to prepare for a storm? Do you know what to do, what to stock up, and whether or not you need a bug out or go-bag?
Tactical Distributors is happy to offer you a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for a storm so that you and your loved ones can remain safe.Get Evacuation Ready
Understandably, not everyone can evacuate, whether due to health or financial reasons. However, if you can evacuate, get your home, self, and family ready to do so. There is a chance a mandatory evacuation notice will be announced as the storm approaches, depending on the severity, and knowing what to do before you can save you so much stress, time, and hassle.Here are a few quick evacuation tips you should know:
- Walk around the inside and outside of your home with your smartphone or digital camera and take photos of everything you own. Make sure to have the date and time on, too. Ensure that the device goes with you when you evacuate. Don't just snap pictures of the AC unit and your television, but everything. Clothing, furniture, windows, cookware, storage, bedrooms, etc.
- Clear the yard. Store patio and outdoor furniture, grills, bikes, plants and plant pots, decorations, your outdoor BBQ, and items like the lawnmower inside the garage. If you do not clear the yard, anything within it can quickly become a projectile that damages your home.
- Brace everything you can. Many of us as homeowners might be familiar with piling sandbags around our exterior doors and windows, but what about our garage doors? Bracing all doors, windows, and your garage door can keep the garage door from falling, helping to prevent the rest of the house from depressurizing.
- Anything that may rust or corrode exposed to water should be elevated. Unplug all appliances and try to move them to several feet above on higher ground. Countertops or a dining room table, or the second level of a home will work.
- Turn off the power and waterlines last. FEMA recommends doing this to prevent further damages to your home caused by disasters and storms, such as electrocution, gas leaks, flooding, fires, and water damages.
A go-bag or a bug-out bag is a duffel bag, tactical bag, or backpack that should have essential items to take with you in case of an emergency. Have no idea what a go bag/bug out bag is or what to pack? We've got you. Read more about it in our beginner's guide to bugging out the blogReady Electronic Devices
As soon as you receive the warning for an approaching storm, begin charging your devices. Make sure your essential electronics are fully charged and ready to go. Charge your:
- Smartphone, the primary device you should always have with you.
- Any smartphone battery backups or power packs.
- Your laptop
- Rechargeable batteries
Additionally, if possible, having a hand-crank or solar-powered radio can help entertain and keep you up to date should there be any issue with batteries or devices running out of power. Severe storms often cause power outages. Don't get caught in the dark with no way of knowing what is going on.
Don't forget to conserve your phone's battery as much as possible to make it last. Most phones come with battery-saving mode. You can reduce your smartphone battery usage further by reducing the phone screen brightness, turning off WiFi, and not using apps that require extra power, such as streaming videos.
Last but just as important, make sure your emergency contacts within your phone are set up or updated and that your relationship to them is clearly listed.Have A Car Charger for your Smartphone
Whether you have to evacuate or are weathering the storm, make sure you have or purchase a car charger. Your car's battery (should it be in good condition) becomes a fantastic resource for charging your phone when you've used all power available for it. Don't worry about draining your car battery with your phone, either. Your smartphone doesn't use enough power to drain a car's battery.Pack Electronics, Important Papers, and Clothing in Plastic
Keep your devices, necessary paperwork, and electronics dry by wrapping them or using plastic. You can purchase several different designs of heavy-duty waterproof storage options or easily fall back on a grocery store variety of zipper-seal bags. Sandwich baggies are perfect for smaller-sized phones, batteries, AC adapters, paper cards, and gallon-sized bags that can hold tablets or even small laptops. This is an especially helpful storm tip when dealing with heavy rains, hurricanes, and tornados.Prepare for Power Outages
Severe weather and storms often go hand in hand with power outages, some mild and some powerful enough to last days or weeks. Whether sheltering in place or under a mandatory evacuation, you should be prepared for the inevitable power outages.
- Write down important information, as you may not be able to rely on your cellphone during a prolonged outage. Numbers addresses you might need to remember, such as a local library, hospital, school, or storm shelter. Any place that might have power before you may be able to recharge your electronics.
- Use your gas or charcoal for cooking up food that will spoil. If you've properly stored your gas or charcoal BBQ and notice no water damage, it should be safe for you to cook food. Food in your fridge will remain safe in temperatures below 40 degrees F for 4 hours, so you should cook any perishables (raw meat, soft cheese) within this period. Otherwise, it would help if you tossed them. A full freezer, if left shut, should stay cold for roughly 48 hours. After cooking, anything that isn't eaten will need to be thrown out after 2 hours because you have no way to keep it cold enough to prevent spoiling unless you're in the middle of a frigid winter storm.
If you can afford to do so, investing in a generator before a significant storm arrives might be the right solution for you. However, if you don't have one, own a cooler and have several bags or bottles of ice to prolong the cold in your fridge and coolers.
Before a storm hits, we highly recommend restocking or purchasing a few first-aid kits. At least two first aid kits, one for the home and one for your vehicle, as well as considering some first-aid training just in case. For long-term planning, make sure your homeowner's insurance is updated, think about adding flood insurance and try and have an emergency fund set aside.
Before disaster strikes, knowing how to prepare for a storm will save you so much time, aggravation, stress, money, and potentially your life and the lives of your loved ones. Don't get caught, and don't panic. With Tactical by your side, you'll always be prepared.