5 Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Disaster

We have not been strangers to natural disasters.  This year, alone, a small tornado touched down near our home and destroyed trees, as well as caused damage to vehicles.

In 2011, we were just a mile away from a devastating river flood that ruined homes and farmland.

Hail, high winds, and fires are so common in our part of the country.  It has really caused us to rethink the way we handle storing our prized possessions.

Master Lock, has made it their primary business to keep your stuff safe.  Their new Python Adjustable Locking Cable is exactly the sort of product we use on our farm to keep large pieces of equipment, such as supply trailers, secure from theft or high winds.  We tried it out, and was impressed with its durability, easy of use, and quality.  We felt much better having items secured in this manner, rather than a typical padlock that could be easily cut.

There is a lot of work that goes into being ready for a disaster.  Start with just one of these tips, and keep going until you are ready!

1. Learn the language. Beginning October 22, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in the U.S. will add two new threat levels to its weather outlooks for storm days at risk of producing tornados, hail or high winds. Risk categories will now include "enhanced" and "marginal," in addition to the existing "slight," "high" and "moderate."

We are always amazed when people move to Nebraska and don't know the difference between a "watch" and a "warning", as well.  These are important distinctions, and can be important to keeping your family safe during conditions where a tornado can occur.

2. Prepare in advance. You'll never realize how important it is to plan ahead, until you're not prepared! In addition to enough water and non-perishable food for each person in your home, a back-up power generator, first aid kits, warm blankets, and access to medication, cash, and important documents is a must.  We keep supplies for our pets, too!  You can keep all of these important supplies secured in a central location, such as your storm shelter, for easy access.  Be sure to rotate food and water every 6 months to keep them fresh.

3. Create a backup plan. Those important papers mentioned above should include copies of your car and home titles, birth certificates, cash, and medical records.  If you ever had to start over fresh in a new location, whatever you need to establish your identity and assets should be included.  Put these in a fire and water-proof safe in a place you can easily get to in an emergency.  We personally use the Sentry®Safe fire safe for our paper copies.  For extra security, you may want to upload digital copies to the Master Lock Vault, which is free and can be accessed 24 hours a day, via smartphone, tablet or computer.

4. Secure outdoor belongings. I remember how difficult it was to track down our personal belongings that usually get stored outside after the tornado touched down.  Our trash bins few miles away, yard toys were destroyed, and some things were never recovered.  Putting everything in a covered shed or garage is ideal, and the lock should be secured with a lock.  The Python we mentioned above, is just the thing for patio furniture, small trailers, and bicycles.  If your home is damaged and you are forced to leave, it adds an extra layer of protection against looters, as well, who will be working quickly to go for the easiest stuff to steal.

5. Go cordless. No power is no fun.  In addition to time lost for those who work or school from home, you can lose access to important communications and needed medical devices.  If a backup generator isn't in your budget, make sure you have enough flashlights, batteries, and external "power supplies" for small devices and phones.  If you rely on your internet to be connected to power, this is a good time to look into how to use your data plan as a hot spot for wi-fi, as well.  If you lose power, remember to unplug all of your electrical appliances such as laptops, televisions and corded phones. Power surges can occur as the result of lightning and can damage plugged-in electronics and appliances.

You can learn more about protecting yourself and your family during an emergency, as well as new tools for security via the Master Lock website!

Wanna Win? In celebration of National Preparedness Month, we are giving away one of the Python Locking Cables we tried out!  There are two ways to enter to win:

1) Comment on this post with how you would use this product, if you win.

2) Follow us on Instagram and post a photo on Instagram of something you would like to keep safe during a storm. (It can be something you would like to keep safe, but doesn't have to be something you would secure with the Python.)  Use the hashtag #MasterLockPrepare so we can count your entry. 

You have until October 7th at 11:59 pm CST to get your entries in. One entry per method per person for a total of two per person.  Open to U.S 18+.

*Sample, prizing, and info provided by Master Lock. Opinions are my own.