12 Tips for Prepping Your Home for Storm Season (PHOTOS)

Liz Alterman | Sep 9, 2014 Home & Garden

prep your home for storm season Witnessing his hometown of Pt. Pleasant, New Jersey nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy left an indelible impression on Joseph Paradise. The dad and teacher, who spent years since the 2012 superstorm helping his parents, friends, and strangers rebuild, gained some hard-won wisdom when it comes to bracing for a disaster.

As September has been declared National Preparedness Month by FEMA and Homeland Security, it's an ideal time to take a look at some of the things you can do to protect your family and your home in the event of a storm.   

Paradise and insurance experts offered their top tips for preparing your home for storm season.  

As Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

More from The Stir: 6 Crock-Pot Recipes to Get You Through a Winter Storm 

What do you do to ensure your family and your home are storm-ready? 

Image @AlisonWright/Corbis

  • Landline Telephone


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    Paradise says many of the people he knows who were severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy have insisted on getting hard wire landline telephones that do not require electricity.

    As a result of widespread power outages, he said that once cellphones ran out of juice, many were left without any way to communicate or check on loved ones.

    Though they may seem clunky and old-school, landline phones can be lifesavers in a storm. 

  • Inventory Your Valuables


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    In the event that your home suffers extensive damage, you could lose some valuable items that you'll have to replace. It's a good idea to save receipts and take photos for insurance purposes, experts advise. 

    "We encourage our customers to create a household inventory and offer an online fillable form as well as a printable one," says Shonda L. Vorst of Central Insurance Companies. They also have a video called How to Create a Household Inventory and a tip sheet on how to complete one.  

  • Plastic Tub


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    Unfortunately, Paradise says, his family learned the hard way that cardboard boxes aren't meant to hold keepsakes.

    "My mom lost a lot of sentimental items that had been stored in cardboard," Paradise notes. "So now we keep everything in plastic tubs with lids."

  • Trim Trees Near Your House


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    Trees are gorgeous and not only provide oxygen but also give us much-needed shade. But when it comes to storm season, they often prove dangerous if not maintained.  

    If you have heavy limbs hanging over your home or driveway, consider having them trimmed. If you think you have dead trees, call an arborist for a professional opinion. Removing them before a storm can save you from considerable damage if one falls on your house or car. 

  • Create an Evacuation Plan


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    Image © iStock.com/Pixsooz

    In the event that your home is damaged and you need to leave immediately, have an evacuation plan ready. Where will your family meet? Is there anything you need to take with you? How will you get in touch if one family member isn't with you at the time? 

    Having answers to these questions can save you time and stress when you're already panicked. 

  • Know Your Generator


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    If you don't have a generator, consider buying one if you think you could experience a long-term power outage. If you already own one, know how it works. 

    Central Insurance Companies' experts recommend reviewing Generator Safety Tips to protect you and your family, as misuse is a leading cause of fires in post-storm situations. 

  • Stock Up on Gasoline


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    Keeping extra gasoline on hand, stored safely in a shed or garage, will help ensure your generator is running if there's a gasoline shortage. 

    Paradise says he was heartened to see neighbors sharing their supplies of the valuable commodity as they recovered from the storm. 

  • Know Your Insurance Policies


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    Read your insurance policies and know what your responsibilities are. Have an idea of what is and isn't covered, such as flooding, and be aware of your general and specific policy limits and deductibles, experts at Central Insurance Companies advise. 

    If you have a question or think you might need additional coverage, take care of everything before a storm hits. 

  • Have Flashlights Ready


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    Be sure to have plenty of flashlights and batteries at the ready, Paradise says. 

    "Know where everything is and how easily you can access it if you had to in the dark," he says.

    Because it can be hard to navigate, you'll want to be prepared not only by having these items on hand but also having them handy.

  • Keep Extra Water on Hand & in the Fridge


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    When you're without power, it's only a matter of time before food begins to spoil. Paradise says keeping jugs of water on hand -- a good idea anyway -- and in the fridge can help the appliance's temperature stay lower longer. 

    "If you can keep the refrigerator closed as much as possible, that will also keep it cold longer," Paradise says. "We also purchased some coolers and have them ready to fill with ice just in case."

  • Make Roof Repairs


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    Before storm season is under way, give your roof a thorough inspection--especially if you believe you make have a leak or any loose shingles.

    While roof repairs aren't necessarily fun ways to spend money, they can save you thousands of dollars in water damage costs if problems occur. Looks for stains or spots in your attic that could indicate you have a leak. 

  • Have Cash Ready


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    If your area is without power, chances are your ATM machines and cash registers aren't going to be working either. In an attempt to accommodate customers, many businesses and gas stations will operate on a cash-only basis. So it's a good idea to get to the bank ahead of a storm. 


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