Spring is a time to get out and enjoy the weather. However, if you are living in an apartment or condominium, do not forget about the safety of your building. If you live in a building with a pool, keep that in mind as well! In case of a spring storm, it will be important to have storm-proofing in place. The following are some simple steps to help protect you, your property and those around you from these storms:

1) Be Aware – What are the signs?

Weather can change quickly when there’s heavy snowfall or rain. When the moisture-laden clouds form together into thunderstorms, there can also potentially be high winds, hail, flash floods and tornadoes too. A wind speed over fifty miles per hour (mph) can break glass windows, and hailstones up to two inches in diameter have been recorded during severe weather events. A tornado may last only minutes but cause severe damage once it goes through a structure. Tornadoes can damage windows, roofs, chimneys, siding and even destroy homes. You should also be aware that large hail has caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage each year.

2) Prepare Your Home & Property

Make sure all utility lines are properly buried and protected by fencing. This will prevent them from getting knocked down and causing power outages. Check underground service equipment such as water heaters to ensure they are not leaking and are located away from the exterior walls. Also, check outdoor lighting fixtures. Remove any light bulbs that may come loose in high winds. And if you have trees on your property, remove limbs that could fall onto power lines and your home. This will reduce the risk of a tree falling on top of your house after a storm.

3) Have an Emergency Plan in Place

Ensure everyone in your family knows where important documents like your insurance papers, birth certificates and passports are kept. Include them in your emergency plan, so they are easily accessible during an unexpected event. Keep copies of important paperwork at home and another copy stored in a safe location where it will not be damaged if something happens. Consider keeping an extra supply of food and other items in your home because you never know what might happen. Remember, most emergencies do not require calling your local authorities, so you may want to keep your contact information handy.

4) Acquire Flood Insurance Cover

If you live in an area that often sees flooding, consider acquiring flood insurance. Many states offer low-cost programs that cover common types of damage, including broken windows, sagging roofing and roofing replacement. It pays to get a quote several months before the season starts, so you do not have to pay for coverage during a disaster. This insurance can help cover repair costs and replace certain types of damages from flooding. It also covers losses caused by fire, smoke or explosion. Make sure to note down any changes to the construction of your home which may affect the amount of coverage.

5) Build a Safe Room

A Safe Room is used to escape from hazards inside your home or business. They can protect against natural disasters such as tornados or hurricanes; however, they are designed to be more efficient than simply running away. An example would be an interior room separated from public areas where occupants can hide until things calm down. Most buildings that are built today have Safe Rooms available. It is best to have an alternate exit from this room in case of an emergency.

6) Pay Attention to Local Weather Forecasts

You might say, “it’s just the weather; it’s going to be fine!” But no one wants to sit through an extensive line waiting outside to get into their building with icy roads and cold rain to wait. So, knowing what day to go to work, school, or wherever can save time and energy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is usually accurate about when and where storms are likely to hit. Learn how to use the NOAA website to see if alerts have been issued and find out who oversees the forecast in your region. This way, you will always know what type of warning is being broadcasted, whether it is a tornado watch or hurricane alert. Be prepared for all types of weather!

7) Practice Good Home Safety Measures

Do you ever wonder why there are fires every year? Fires are dangerous and could cause serious injuries or even death. A house fire can leave you homeless, lose everything and put you at risk of getting hurt or dying. For these reasons, practice lovely home safety measures. Do not overuse lights around your home at night. Use candles sparingly so that the flame does not spread too quickly. If possible, make sure your home has a working smoke detector installed. Get rid of the old ones and replace them with new ones that are properly maintained. In addition, make sure you know the difference between electrical wires, appliances, and heating elements. You should only plugin appliances that are specifically made for the equipment. Always read the instructions first and follow them carefully. There are many things we can do to protect our homes from potential danger, but you need to take responsibility and make sure your family is safe at home.

By practicing these seven steps, you will reduce the chances of becoming injured or killed due to a storm. Once you master these essential steps, your home will be safer from major catastrophes.