Depending on where you are in the world, a storm can be anything from a hurricane to a cyclone, and protecting your home from such an event means making sure you have adequate house insurance to cover any damages.
It also means taking precautions to protect your family from danger, and the preparations involved prior to a storm are similar no matter where you live.
Have a Plan
Just as you would with a fire drill, have a plan for storms that clearly indicates each family member’s responsibilities. Make sure they know what they need to do and where they need to be if a storm is approaching.
Select what you consider to be the strongest room in the house (if you don’t have a basement, then the bathroom is often the next best thing) and set up a base camp with mattresses, lights and an emergency kit.
The emergency kit should contain everything you will need for an extended period, possibly without power or water. It should include enough tinned food and water for several days, a radio, a mobile phone, a waterproof torch with spare batteries and a first aid kit.
Rather than scaring your children, make it a game where you’re camping out in the house, and ensure they have enough games, books and toys to keep them occupied.
Prepare Your Home
This should be done well before the storm approaches -- preferably days before bad weather is predicted to strike.
You should inspect your roof for loose tiles or shingles and empty your gutters of leaves and debris to allow rainwater to run off easily. Close the storm shutters, if you have them, or if you don’t and the forecast is for a severe storm, tape your windows with masking tape, or board them up if you have the materials.
Remove all loose items from your surrounding yard that might become missiles, and trim any tree branches that could fall on your house or car. Place your car in the garage, if you have one, or move it away from trees and cover it with a tarpaulin.
Bring all pets into the house and make them comfortable (possibly in the laundry), as animals can become very frightened and agitated during a storm.
After the Storm
When the storm dies down, do not go outside your home immediately. Wait until you are sure it has passed and is not just a period of calm weather in the eye of the storm.
Keep children and pets in the house until you have been able to inspect for damage. Be alert for fallen power lines. If you see them, do not go near them, but call the electricity company immediately.
If your home has sustained damage, call the local emergency services, which will be on standby in such circumstances. Call your home insurance provider and report any damage as soon as possible.
Preparing for a storm is largely a matter of common sense. If we take every precaution we can and keep our families safe and out of harm’s way, we have every chance of surviving whatever Mother Nature throws at us.