Now that it’s storm season in Texas, tropical storms and hurricanes could bring with them a variety of life-threatening hazards, including high winds, flooding and loss of utilities. To safeguard your home from damage, be sure to take the following measures.
The four weakest points of the home are windows, doors, the roof and the garage doors. To ensure they’re protected as effectively as possible, inspect and repair the caulking around all exterior openings and stucco cracks. You can also consider installing storm shutters over exposed glass surfaces, or placing exterior-grade plywood over windows and doors. If instructed to by local officials, turn off your utilities and fill tubs with water to be able to flush toilets.
High winds will push against your home’s exterior; damage is caused when the energy from the wind is not properly transferred from the roof to the foundation of your home. To reduce risk of damage, check your roof and repair any existing damage, and go up to the attic to reinforce hurricane straps. Cleaning your eavestroughs and downspouts will help to reduce risk of flooding in the home.
To reduce the risk of high winds picking up and throwing loose lawn objects into your windows and doors, be sure to pack them away. Close and fold away any shade awnings or umbrellas; turn propane tanks off and bring barbecues into the garage; secure outdoor items like potted plants, lawn furniture and ornaments; and put garbage cans away. Don’t forget to inspect your property for any loose tree limbs or branches that might become airborne during a storm.
Establish a disaster plan that suits your household needs and ensure that each member of the family is aware on how to respond in the event of an emergency. Your disaster plan should address escape routes, utility power-downs, pet care and emergency contacts and meeting points.
Having an emergency supply kit is a useful — and sometimes life-saving — tool to have ready in the event that you need to evacuate. Your kit should be safely stored in your emergency gathering location and should include the following items:
In the event of an emergency, please use the following local numbers or websites for assistance:
Police Department | (281) 332-2566
Fire Department | (281) 554-1465
UTMB Health | (409) 772-1011
Emergency Care, Urgent Clinics Medical Group | (832) 982-7288
American Red Cross | 1 (800) 733-2767 or http://www.redcross.org/contact-us
Emergency Management Offices | https://www.fema.gov/emergency-management-agencies
Local American Red Cross | http://www.redcross.org/find-your-local-chapter
National Hurricane Center | (305) 229-4470 or http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/contact.shtml