Summer’s here, signaling the start of cookouts, pool parties, and margaritas on the patio. But it also marks the beginning of storm season and power outages for Texas residents. To help you prepare for summer storms and other extreme weather, we have created a list of the 10 things that every Texan should do before the summer storm season hits. Follow them for when flooding, severe weather, or hurricanes are looming for some added peace of mind.
Planning is power. Organize an emergency evacuation or shelter plan and print some plans of your house with highlighted routes to safety. That way, it’ll always be handy when a severe storm hits and you won’t need technology to access it.
Conserve your energy. If a severe storm is headed your way, set your thermostat to around 78 degrees, close your shades and blinds and turn off appliances you’re not using. This will help keep your home as cool as possible and help the electric grid stay balanced—helping you and your neighbors.
Find a safe room. Texas homes don’t have basements. So we encourage you to pick the next-safest room in your house when summer storms occur 54/100. This could be a storm cellar, center of the house, or ground floor with no exterior windows. If you’re in an apartment tower, look for the hallway or a sturdy center point in the building that you can retreat to during a summer storm.
Get the paperwork ready. Gather anything that you think you might need, but won’t have access to. This could be phone numbers of family members and loved ones, personal information IDs, medical information, phone numbers to your utility, or any and everything in between.
Have a backup for technology. If there’s a power outage in your neighborhood or you lose power, a wind-up radio, flashlight, and portable phone charger are all must-haves. And since they’re all battery-powered devices, pick up some batteries the next time you’re at the store. In addition, consider getting a home protection plan for sudden surges or failure of your HVAC or plumbing system.
Pack a first aid kit (emergency kit). Include items such as latex gloves, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, sterile gauze, compress dressings, scissors, tweezers, aspirin, and a first aid booklet.
Have enough food and water. There is a chance that the water supply could be disrupted during a summer storm. So having enough food and water for 3-5 days is important. Bottled water and non-perishable food items like crackers, canned goods, and granola bars are great options. (PSA: Only buy what you need. Don’t be that person.)
Ensure NOAA access. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports on severe weather and storms and is the trusted source of information to get helpful updates.
Prepare for comfy sleep. If water gets in your house somehow, or you’re hunkered down with loved ones, you may not have a bed to sleep on. Vacuum pack blankets and a sleeping bag just in case.
Secure loose items: In case of heavy winds or a tornado, tie-down loose items in your driveway or yard (including patio furniture). This keeps them from flying around and damaging property or others.
A bonus #11 is to remain calm. If you do even half of this list, you’ll get the peace of mind you need to ensure the safety and comfort of you and those you care about.
And speaking of those we care about, check in on your neighbors as frequently as you can. We’re strongest when we work together.