With spring on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about Oklahoma’s weather. After all, the Oklahoma City area experiences more tornados than any other city in the United States, especially between late March through August, when it is most likely for our state to be hit with severe storms.
The dangers and damages related to extreme weather — high winds, microbursts, large hail, heavy rains, flooding, and more — can be traumatic for both homeowners and businesses. It’s costly to repair property, but the problem is even worse when people aren’t ready for stormy weather and haven’t taken action to ensure the safety of their family, employees, and possessions.
But you can take precautions today to mitigate the potential damage and stay safe. Before storm season kicks into high gear this year, be sure to put a clear plan in place—for your home or your business—so you can protect yourself and your property.
Here are five easy to remember, practical tips to help you stay safe during Oklahoma storm season.
1. Prepare Your Weather Warning System
It’s vital to know when bad weather is on the way. One of the most important ways to keep yourself, your family, tenants and employees safe is to be informed. Make plans to stay up-to-date on the latest warnings, news, and storm tracking.
There are many tools you can use to stay weather aware, including:
- Cable, antenna, or satellite TV
- News websites
- News and weather apps for phones and tablets
- AM/FM radios
- Weather alert radios
Remember that cable, electricity, wifi, cell phone service, and batteries can all fail, so it’s good to have multiple options for receiving weather updates. And weather alert radios are especially useful because they can be programmed to find news for your county and set off an alarm that will wake you if storms head your way in the middle of the night.
2. Prepare Your Emergency Kit
Emergency kits are essential, whether you’re at the office or at home. Such kits should be prepared before storms hit, so you can grab them and be ready to go at a moment’s notice—which may be all the time you have to take action and get to safety.
An appropriate emergency kit is ideally stored in something easy to carry, such as a waterproof backpack. Include items such as these:
- Battery-powered radio or television
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Water bottle
- Snack bars
- Sturdy shoes
- A change of clothes
- Cash, wallet, and checkbook
- Keys to your home, car, and/or office
- Helmets, especially for young children
Property managers for office spaces can supply such kits to each tenant or encourage tenants to have their own kits prepared—a wise move since dangerous storms often arise during business hours.
3. Prepare Your Space
Storm-level winds and rain can easily push unsecured materials around your property, potentially compounding weather-related problems—like broken windows, clogged drains leading to water damage, or blocked escape routes. Eliminate these problems by making sure your outside property is clear of loose furniture, dead trees, and other unsecured objects that could cause damage.
In addition, have a clearly designated shelter. In a home, this could be an underground shelter or an interior room on the lowest floor, away from outside walls and windows. For commercial properties, identify the safest place in the building that can fit everyone, make sure employees/tenants know where to go, and stock it with emergency supplies.
If you have an underground shelter, register it with local authorities so that first responders know exactly where to look for you if your home or commercial property is damaged or destroyed by a tornado.
4. Prepare Your People
Every member of your family should be aware of your family preparedness plan, including what to wear (solid shoes, jeans, long-sleeved shirts), what to take (emergency kits and/or essential survival items), and where to go for shelter. Even young children can be taught what to do, and practice sessions are a great way to get everyone used to what to do in an emergency.
For property managers and business owners, it’s helpful to have employees’ and tenants’ contact information, including emergency contacts in case they are injured. Make sure everyone knows where the official shelter area is, and remind them to bring cell phones, wallets, and purses with them if they need to leave their office during a tornado warning.
5. Prepare Your Possessions
In many cases, the damage done to personal and business possessions can be just as stressful as damage to your property. No one wants to lose the personal treasures, vital documents, and other valuables. Protect these precious items before a storm hits by taking steps such as these:
Backup your important information onto flash drives that you can carry with you. Such information can include:
- Contact information for friends, family, or business
- Taxes and other financial documents
- Insurance policies
- Account details for credit cards, banks, utilities, and other accounts
- Consider using an online storage system so that you can access your information from anywhere.
- Maintain a current list and photos of what you own.
- For homeowners, this means jewelry, paintings, electronics, and other valuables.
- For businesses, this includes furniture, paintings, documents, inventory, and any other property owned by the business.
EXTRA TIP: Consider an Emergency Restoration Management Program
An additional way to protect your investment is to partner with a company that provides emergency restoration services for your home or commercial property. Such programs help ensure that you’ll be ready to quickly and effectively address damage from storms and other destructive events, minimizing your losses and helping you maintain your peace-of-mind.
Get Help Now!
At TRILINK, our caring, experienced, detailed team members are always on call 24/7 to assist you with your property needs. Contact us today or anytime at 405-525-5465 to learn more about how we can help you recover from property disasters and quickly get your life back to normal.