What you need to know to prepare for storms

JACKSON, Tenn. – When it comes to a severe storm, homeowners can take steps to protect their homes and keep their families safe.

Severe storms moved through West Tennessee over the weekend leaving behind plenty of damage to homes, knocking over countless trees and damaging businesses.

Emergency officials say they want to provide the community with tips on how you can prepare before another storm hits.

“Start off with a need to know what’s coming,” Jackson-Madison County EMA director Marty Clements said. “Keep informed whether an alert radio, the media, so you can make decisions.”

Clements says create a family plan if you have kids, elderly, or disabled people in your home, and remember to have a plan for pets as well. Be sure to have canned foods and non-perishable food items stocked and keep your medications with you.

“You need to have an evacuation plan. Make arrangements at somewhere that has a shelter or basement,” Clements said. “If you do have a storm shelter, you need to register the storm shelter.”

Keep your gas tank full and have money handy. When it comes to insurance, it’s important to have documentation.

“Checking your homeowners insurance,” State Farm insurance agent Wes Harris said. “Is it current? Do you know the phone number for your claims? Do you know who your agent is? Because that is the first thing that people do after a storm hits.”

Harris says it’s also important to take photos and video.

“They will need to know what their deductible is, and then what are their options for repair,” Harris said. “Walk through the house with your cell phone, just take a video of everything in the house. It’s best to do it before a storm hits.”

And stocking up on items you’ll need during and after a storm is always a good idea.

“I would say the most important thing would be a generator,” Scott Ray, operations manager at Home Depot on Vann Drive, said. “Some kind of alternate power source whether it’s a portable generator, whether it’s a whole house generator.”

Ray says it’s also important to have batteries, a flashlight and first aid kit.

“The main thing is probably communication,” Ray said. “So a solar powered battery charger, so your phone doesn’t go down. Then a grill, whether it’s propane grill or charcoal grill.”

If you have more questions, contact your local emergency management officials or the American Red Cross.

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