Texas weather can be unpredictable. Tornadoes, hail, thunderstorms and flash flooding can wreak havoc on the roads. The real danger is not only what happens if you get caught out when the weather turns ugly, but also not being prepared when it happens.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), weather’s ability to knock out power and communications ‒ often for long stretches of time ‒ is a primary concern. Being prepared is the best defense.
Here are seven easy ways to be prepared for turbulent weather:
1. Schedule an appointment with your mechanic.
When you bring your vehicle in for a seasonal checkup, your mechanic may recommend a number of services to prepare your vehicle for the season, such as checking the brakes, battery condition, oil and filters, fluid levels, hoses and belts.
2. Assemble an emergency kit for your car.
If you don’t have one already, put together an emergency kit. It should contain tools you can use to get out of a bind ‒ such as jumper cables, a jack, air pump and flashlight. You should also include a first aid kit to treat any injuries that may occur in an accident. In case you get stranded, make sure to store a few bottles of clean water and blankets. Spare batteries or portable chargers can also come in handy in case your cell phone runs out of power.
3. Keep bottled water on hand at home.
Local water purification systems may be out of commission during a power outage, and if that outage lasts for several days, your tap water may become unsafe for drinking. Have plenty of bottled water stored and ready in the event that power is out for several days.
4. Saving perishable food.
If your power goes out, avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer often to prevent the cold from getting out and warming up the food inside. If you have ice packs, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends packing dairy products and perishable leftovers in a cooler packed with ice. Keep canned or non-perishable food on hand that you can open and prepare without electricity.
5. Prepare your home ahead of time.
While caulking around windows and putting weather stripping around doors is always a good idea to save on energy costs, it can help keep your house cool in the event of a power outage by keeping hot air outside the house and cold air in.
6. Be careful with generators.
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep long extension cords handy in case you need to hook up appliances to a generator sitting outside.
7. Make a plan.
You and your family may not be at home when a weather emergency strikes. Make sure your workplace or children’s schools have plans in place to safely get everyone home should turbulent weather happen.
Do you think you’re prepared for a weather emergency? What other preparation techniques do you use?