Creative Ways To Prepare In-Home For Severe Weather

Sanford and Lee County are no strangers to severe weather and hurricanes. But the gift of a struggle is the lesson it teaches us. Sam Mabe, Director of Facilities Management and Safety Officer at Central Carolina Hospital, says the best way to avoid damage is to take proactive steps in advance to minimize weather’s effects.

“With hurricanes we are familiar with a number of tried and true ways to guard against damage. We can prepare for wind damage by taping large ‘x’s across windows and removing outside furniture and items that can blow away. We can prepare for water shut-off by filling reservoirs in the home. We can prepare for flooding by placing sandbags around doors and low-level vents and windows. We can prepare for power outages by charging all devices and stocking batteries and non-prepare foods,” says Mabe.

“It’s also a good idea to unplug all electronics and place them in higher locations in the home.” Items that may be worth buying in advance are: insect repellent, paper plates and utensils, duct tape, canned food (and a non-electric can-opener if you don’t have one), water, and gasoline.

Below is a list of some lesser stated, but very effective, things you can do at home to prepare for severe weather. [Thank you WLTX News19 for these creative ideas]

Use your washing machine as a cooler: Fill it up with ice and close the lid to keep items cool. And don’t worry about what to do when the ice begins to melt, the machine is designed to drain water. Fill your coolers with ice or water while you’re at it.

Use your dishwasher as a document/electronics safe: It’s sealed to keep water in, so it also keeps water out. Just make sure all your dishes are taken out before loading up important documents or belongings.

Water bottle + flashlight = lantern: You can better illuminate a room by taping a flashlight to the bottom of a filled water bottle with the bulb shining through the water.

Use deep dish pans to protect furniture legs: Placing disposable aluminum cooking pans around the furniture legs can help minimize water damage in minor flooding.

Store water-sensitive belongings in plastic bins & bags: They can minimize water damage to items that could be destroyed by moisture such as stuffed animals, clothes, books, power cords (unplugged), etc.

Make extra ice: Fill your freezers with airtight bags and closed plastic bottles of frozen water/ice. You can use these to cool down when the power is out.

Use a bathtub as a reservoir: You may need it to flush the toilet if the power is out.

Involve your older children in the actions above so they can understand the importance of pre-planning and see how “out-of-the-box” strategies can be effective. They may even have additional ideas.

Visit the Red Cross website for a complete Hurricane Preparedness Checklist.