What Are Some Steps That Homeowners Can Take To Prepare for Storms and Stay Safe?
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers emergency preparedness tips to help homeowners prepare for severe weather.
SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides storm damage restoration and cleanup to homeowners and businesses in the Bay area, including Atherton and Redwood City. Palo Alto has a mild Mediterranean climate where the average annual rainfall is 17 inches. The summer high is 80 degrees Fahrenheit with the January winter low of 40 degrees, and the region enjoys 261 days of sunshine and 61 days of rain and cloud cover. From late October through March, Palo Alto averages almost 3 inches of rain per month. This fluctuation in weather spells the potential for storm damage, including heavy rains, high winds, and flash floods. SERVPRO of Palo Alto, a locally owned and operated damage restoration company, is offering storm damage preparation tips to help Palo Alto property owners stay safe by planning ahead.
Identify Flood Plain Areas and Assess Vulnerability
Start by determining if the home or business is located in a flood-prone area. Check flood records. Contact the county planning department. Talk to neighbors and local residents who have lived in the area for more than a few years. Consult with an insurance agent about a homeowner’s policy. Ask about flood insurance before the need for flood insurance arises.
Tip #1: Formulate a disaster plan.
Include communication, survival, and recovery strategies in this plan. Map out and rehearse an evacuation route for the family. Have a contact person located outside the region. All family members should have the information memorized and easily accessible.
Information can save lives. Alert signals, official evacuation routes, and shelter locations should be a part of the disaster plan. Let public utilities and emergency personnel know about any special needs such as age, disabilities, or severe medical conditions.
Tip #2: Prepare the home to withstand the worst.
Identify potential hazards in and around the home. These hazards include downed power lines, broken water lines, a ruptured gas line, and chemical spills resulting from flooding. Have shutoff valves clearly marked. Any tools needed to operate the valves should be clearly visible and easily accessed. Locate and maintain LED flashlights near these action points. If the basement floods, play it safe by staying out of the water. The risk of electrocution, a slip-and-fall injury, and exposure to sewage and dangerous chemicals is too high.
The risk of fire is high during a storm damage emergency. Electrical short circuits, candle fires, and accidental ignition of flammable liquids or natural gas pose a real danger. Fire extinguishers are affordable, easy to operate, and safe. An extra fire extinguisher in the kitchen, the laundry room, and the garage can prevent a small flash fire from getting out of hand. The extra fire extinguishers give the homeowner the upper hand when a fire breaks out while dealing with storm damage. Teach the entire family to properly use these devices so that an extinguisher can be quickly accessed and operated during a fire.
In the event of water intrusion from storm damage to the roof, have on hand several tarps or a large roll of heavy-duty plastic to cover furniture or other personal belongings. A mop, a squeegee, and some buckets will prove helpful to remove standing water.
Tip #3: Take steps to ensure the health and safety of the family.
Here are some basic survival steps to keep the family healthy and safe when there is major storm damage to the home:
- A well-stocked first-aid kit is foundational to the most basic survival strategy.
- Prepare an emergency three-day water supply of one gallon per day per person.
- The CDC recommends having a 3-day stockpile of non-perishable food on hand for emergencies.
- Put together a personal health and hygiene kit. Include soap, wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, toothbrushes, toothpaste, eyewash, lotion, and shampoo. Insect repellent, either natural or commercial, is recommended for the kit.
Tip #4: Have a recovery strategy in place before disaster strikes.
Storm damage can range from the loss of a few shingles to severe roof damage with extensive water intrusion. When the skies clear and the floodwaters recede, cleanup and recovery can be overwhelming and dangerous. The best recovery and restoration solution involves highly trained and well-equipped professionals who can complete the damage restoration process quickly, efficiently, and safely. The property owner who makes one call before the disaster strikes will only have to make one call after the disaster strikes in order to ensure a prompt response, a safe cleanup, and a fast and efficient restoration project.