How to Stay Safe in Your Home During Extreme Weather

HelpHouse tips to stay safe during extreme weather emergencies.

While much of the country is still firmly in the grips ow Old Man Winter and dealing with freezing temperatures, snow storms, Alberta clippers and bomb cyclones, it won’t be long until we can welcome in the warmer inviting temperatures of Spring and Summer. But with the warmer weather also comes another array of potentially extreme weather systems, from severe thunderstorms, hurricanes and obviously even more tornadoes.

As our climate continues to change unexpectedly, it’s more important than ever these days to protect yourself and your loved ones and help them stay safe in your home during severe weather events. But with this new strange weather we don’t know what we can expect, or what’s coming. According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center there were 48 preliminary tornado reports in January, 2022, well above the 35 tornado average between the years 1991-2010 for January. So the best we can do is be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at us next, and expect the unexpected.

What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

If you are in a tornado watch it means that a tornado is possible, while a tornado warning means there already is a tornado in your immediate area or one will develop soon, so get to your safe place right away. Many tornado survivors have said they heard a loud, train-like sound before the tornado hit.

If you are under a tornado or any severe weather warning, follow weather forecasts and emergency information from a NOAA Weather Radio or your local news station and take shelter immediately. The safest areas to shelter household members and pets, according to FEMA, are the basement or a storm cellar if you have one, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

Tornadoes can sustain winds over 200 miles and will catapult home debris like wood and glass and other objects at you with tremendous force, so help better protect yourself by getting beneath something sturdy and cover your body with heavy blankets or a mattress.

In high-rise buildings you might not have enough time to get down to the lowest floor of the building, so find a hallway in the center of the building. If you live in a mobile home try to find a safer a safe place to shelter in a sturdy building nearby, no mobile homes are safe during a tornado.

Visit to find open shelters near you. After a tornado stay clear of fallen power lines or broken utility lines.

What to do when the power goes out?

Power outages from extreme weather is never helpful, but blackouts from ice storms and blizzards can be deadly. Freezing temperatures can cause hypothermia, and can also lead to other not-so-smart solutions trying to stay warm.

Common dangers people can create during power outages come from using outdoor gas grills indoors, or running gas powered generators too close to the home. High concentrations of carbon monoxide gas, which is colorless and odorless, can kill a person in minutes. Never use a gas oven or stove to heat your home.

You can be more prepared for loss of power to your home by simply preparing in advance an emergency kit stocked with a few essentials: flashlights with plenty of batteries, warm blankets, and at least a few days worth of prescription medicine and emergency food and water supplies.

Augasson Farms and Wise Foods are two companies that offer freeze dried emergency food with a shelf life up to 25 years. These also require water and a heat source to prepare, but it is better to invest a little now and put a box of emergency supplies and a case of water or two (one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation) away now so you will be prepared later, if or when the time ever comes. We all know what the grocery store shelves look like after a natural disaster (or a pandemic).

Inside your home, make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups are fully functional, and if you don’t have them, get them. If you use a gas powered generator, keep it at least 20 feet from doors and windows and never run a generator in your garage.

Also, try to keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed. A closed refrigerator can keep food cold for at least four hours, while the freezer can maintain the temperature for around 2 days. For extended power outages use coolers with ice if available, check temperature with a thermometer and discard any food if the temperature is above 40 degrees.

If your power goes out in the winter, keep your sink faucets dripping during freezing temperatures to keep your home’s water pipes from bursting, or at least drip from the faucet that is as far away from the main water source as possible so the water can flow through the entire system. It’s also a good idea to know where your main water shut-off valve is, if you need to shut the water supply off quickly in case of a burst pipe.

When the power goes out, or if you are anticipating a power outage, it’s also a good idea to turn off and unplug appliances and electronics. The power might come back intermittently with power surges that can cause damage to your tv’s and other household devices.

It doesn’t have to be a natural disaster to cause significant damage to your home. Supplemental home heating equipment causes one in seven house fires every year, with space heaters leading the way, and there are over 25,000 chimney fires in the U.S. alone every year. Chimney fires mostly caused by excessive, highly combustible creosote building on the chimney walls, account for almost 30% of all fires caused by heating equipment.

How do you know if you have a chimney fire? A fire in the chimney can sound like a loud roaring freight train, a loud crackling or popping sound like gunshots, or you might not hear anything at all. You might also see flames or a thick, dark smoke coming out the top of the chimney, or dense smoke going into the fireplace or woodstove.

There’s not much you can do if you have a chimney fire other than get your family and pets outside the building ASAP, then call the fire department. Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to chimney fires so have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year by a certified professional chimney sweep, and only burn dry, seasoned hardwood in smaller, hotter and appropriately sized fires for your fireplace or stove. Make sure your chimney has sufficient draft when you’re burning firewood.


Find Home Cleaning Services for Storm Damage in Your Area

PCC Cleaning & Restoration

SERVPRO of Hoboken/Union City

Residential & Commercial Cleaning Services – 305 Cleaners, Corp.

SERVPRO of West Somerset County


Leave a reply


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

close chatgpt icon

Enter your request.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account