Storm season is here, so it’s important to be prepared — and most of all, safe. Whether it’s a rainstorm or a hurricane, storms can change your life in an instant. Fortunately, there are a few measures you can take to help ensure your safety before, during, and after the storm hits. Here are some basic tips to make storm survival as simple as possible.

Before the storm

1. Act fast

The amount of time you have to prepare depends on the situation. In the case of hurricanes, for example, you might have 1 or 2 days to evacuate. Other scenarios could require quicker action. Either way, use this time to your advantage. Planning and preparedness are key.

2. Put a kit together

A basic emergency kit should include a flashlight, batteries, and first aid supplies. Other good things to include: a can opener, a whistle, nonperishable food, and a hand-crank radio. (You can check out our more extensive list too.)

3. Make a plan

Talk to your family about how you’ll contact each other and where you’ll meet in the event of an emergency. You should also discuss where to keep relevant phone numbers and contact information. Make sure everyone has a copy and keep one in your kit. Helpful templates can be found online.

Evacuating

1. Be ready

Depending on the severity of the storm or disaster, you may be alerted of an evacuation in a number of ways: sirens, emails, text alerts, or phone calls.

2. Know your zone

While local officials should update you, there are a number of online resources that can guide you as well, particularly for hurricanes.

3. Stay updated

Once you’ve evacuated, listen to the radio or local news for updates on when you can expect to head home.

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After the storm

1. Return when it’s safe

You may not be able to get back into your home right away due to blocked roads, downed fences and power lines, or rescue crews taking care of emergency situations. Stay tuned to local news.

2. Avoid hazards

This includes power lines or nearby metal fences, as they could be live. Don’t drive or walk through flooded areas since you could be carried away by currents or at risk for electrical charges.

3. Hold on to your ID

You might have to pass through security checkpoints before you’re allowed to return home after a major storm, so make sure you have a valid form of identification.

Coming home

1. Be safe

If flooding is present, don’t turn on the power. Report any damaged power lines or hanging cables to your local power company. Refrain from using matches or lighters in an area that’s recently been impacted by a storm, as there could be leaking gas lines.

2. Take photos of the damage

This will come in handy when it’s time to file an insurance claim. Be cautious of any structural damage.

3. Get an inspection

Professionals can let you know if your electricity and gas lines are safe to use, or if any surrounding trees could pose a risk after a storm. This is also a good time to get your roof inspected.

4. Be careful with water

Flooding can cause bacterial contamination in drinking water, so use bottled water or boil your tap water before drinking.

Of course, the best time to prepare for a storm is when there isn’t one coming. Make sure you have quality homeowners insurance to protect against rain, wind, or falling trees. Get a free quote today.

Safe and smart | Home safety

about Chris

Chris has written everything from fiction manuscripts to pretend newsletters about pirates. He’s even edited numerous volumes of work written entirely by kids. As a freelance writer at Esurance, he strives to bring out the whimsy and heart of insurance. Outside of Esurance, Chris is an audiophile, visual artist, and explorer of late-night taquerias.