7 Home Preparation Tips for Weather Emergencies

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated February 10, 2022
Father and son walking home
Photo: MoMo Productions / Getty Images


  • Weather emergencies can come from tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes, and flooding.

  • Trim trees and weatherproof your home.

  • Stock up and make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

  • Create an emergency plan with your family and practice it.

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Few things are more unnerving than severe weather headed your way. If you’re facing a weather emergency, like a hurricane, preparing ahead of time is crucial. Learn how to prepare for a natural disaster at home, and make a plan to ensure you and your loved ones will stay safe and sound.

1. Trim Trees and Branches

Extreme weather can send branches flying and turn them into missiles that can damage your home. Trim any trees and branches near your home, and secure any other loose objects in the area that could present a risk.

2. Weatherproof the Home

Take some steps to ensure your home can handle the extreme weather. For example, if a major winter storm is bearing down on you, insulate water lines to ensure they don't freeze. Caulk and weather-strip any doors and windows as well, and add extra insulation in the walls and attic. If you're facing high winds, consider installing storm windows.

3. Stock Up

A major storm can knock out power for days or even weeks, and a blizzard can keep you from driving anywhere. As a result, stock up on supplies for a big storm. Make sure you have lots of non-perishable goods on hand. Get plenty of batteries and extra fuel for any generators you may have. Make sure you have a first aid kit as well.

4. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Man checking smoke detector
Photo: ronstik / iStock / Getty Images

If you expect to use your fireplace a lot because of the storm, then have someone inspect it to ensure it’s in good working order. Also, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, or ensure the ones you have are working properly. They could save your life.

5. Monitor Forecasts and Follow Guidance

Constantly monitor the forecasts as the storm approaches. Even slight shifts in the storm's track and intensity can drastically change your situation. For example, if a hurricane's track shifts and it strengthens, you may decide to evacuate rather than hunker down. Or, if forecasters are projecting higher snowfall totals, you might increase the amount of non-perishable goods you buy just to be safe.

6. Create an Emergency Plan for Your Family

You and your family should know exactly what to do in any emergency scenario, so draft an emergency plan and practice it. For example, once a severe storm warning is issued, you should know exactly where to go and what to bring with you, like a first aid kit, batteries, and flashlights.

7. Connect With Neighbors

It's important to stick together when severe weather strikes. That’s why it's good to connect with neighbors. Communicate your emergency plans with them, as well as how many people and pets are in your home. That way, if something were to happen and you became trapped in your home, they could communicate to first responders how many people and pets need to be rescued, as well as where in the house you are most likely located. Or, if you are low on supplies, you could reach out to them to help you, and vice versa.

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