How to prepare for a weather emergency

Check your readiness for a natural disaster

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

When you get news of a looming weather emergency or natural disaster in your area, such as flooding in the Midwest, the ongoing wildfires in New Mexico, and extreme heat in the South, that’s the time to prepare for the worst and check your readiness for a natural disaster.

What to do? Consumer Reports offers a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for approaching storms. Here’s a rundown of what to do now.

How to Prepare

Get your home ready for evacuating. If a mandatory evacuation is announced as a storm approaches, you should know what to do to your home before you leave.

Have a “go bag” ready. In addition to preparing your home, you should have a bag of essential items to take with you.

Prepare electronic devices. Having your phone fully charged is only one step in preparing for an emergency.

Don’t forget your pets. It’s always a good idea to take your pets with you when you evacuate.

What about a generator? Hurricanes cause more power outages in the U.S. than any other type of weather.

Handling a medical emergency. If someone in your family gets sick or hurt during a storm, what do you do?

Car safety during floods. Flooded roads are often more dangerous to drive on than they appear.

Longer-Term Planning

Even if you’re not immediately threatened by a storm or another emergency, it’s always good to be prepared. Here are some things you can do for the long term.

Update your homeowners insurance. When disaster strikes, you can save a lot of time, aggravation, and money by having a good insurance policy.

Protection against flooding. Think you don’t need flood insurance? You don’t want to wait until disaster strikes to find out.

Have an emergency fund. Four in 10 American adults don’t have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense, according to a 2018 Federal Reserve survey. Now is the best time to get started on making sure your emergency fund is big enough.