Weathering the Storm
Don't Get Caught Unprepared this Spring
BY CHRISTI BLEVINS
Spring storms are an inevitable part of living in Texas. From hailstorms to tornadoes, weather in the Lone Star State can be as wild as the Texas frontier. Regardless of what the forecast holds, you don’t have to be caught unprepared.
Take a Little Off the Top
Make sure that your trees are trimmed and that there aren’t any branches dangling over your roof. Smaller, spindly branches should also be trimmed.
Batten Down the Hatches
Take a walk around your property and look for items that might turn into projectiles during a storm. Secure items like bird feeders, flag poles, patio umbrellas, outdoor furniture, flowerpots, and trash cans. Even though the cushions and pillows on your patio furniture won’t cause damage, placing them inside your garage will prevent them from blowing down the street like tumbleweeds.
Get Your Mind in the Gutter
Homeowners often forget to clear rain gutters until it is raining and there is an obvious problem. Be sure that all gutters are firmly attached to your house and that they are free from any debris.
Plan for Power Outages
If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to receive text updates from your electric company concerning power outages. It’s also helpful to add your power company’s phone number to your contact list.
Test your flashlights and make sure you have extra batteries on hand. Avoid using candles because the last thing you need is a fire.
Keeping your freezer full can prevent you from ending up with a gloopy mess of melted ice cream and thawed meat. Fill empty milk jugs or soda bottles with water and freeze them.
This will help keep things cold until power is restored. When you lose power, fill an ice chest with a couple of frozen water jugs and the food items you’ll likely want. Avoid opening your fridge and freezer unnecessarily.
Have a Family Plan
Since most Texas homes don’t have a basement, determine your family’s safe space before a storm hits. In case of a tornado watch/warning, you will need an interior location to hunker down in for a bit. This might be a bathroom or a large closet on the lowest floor of your home. You’ll want flashlights, pillows, and close-toed shoes for each family member. You can also include some favorite stuffed animals and books if you have children. Grab some water bottles and snacks in case you need to be in your safe space for a while. Bicycle helmets are also useful to protect heads from flying or falling debris.
An Ounce of Insurance is Worth a Pound of Regret
The time to assess your insurance coverage is when you don’t need it. Pick an unbelievably sunny day when all seems right with the world to sit down with your home and auto insurance policies. Know your deductibles and exactly what is covered. Don’t wait until it’s hailing to determine that you’re underinsured. Then add your insurance agent to your phone’s contact list.