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Guide to Tornado Preparedness

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Weather in Iowa can only be described as predictably unpredictable.  This month, for example, we’ve had it all -- sunshine and temps in the 80s, to wind, rain, frigid temps and even a few flakes of snow.  But we’re not complaining!  Nope.  Us Iowans, we’re conditioned to roll with the punches when it comes to climate.  And if there is one thing we’ve learned with regards to the weather after living in Iowa for all these years, it is to always.be.prepared.  (Those good ol’ Boy Scouts sure know what they’re talking about!)


This preparation piece is especially crucial during the spring season, also known as, tornado season.  You see?  The problem with tornados, like many natural disasters, is that you never know exactly when or where they will strike or how severe they might be.  Therefore, your best bet is to be prepared with a plan of action.  Here are five simple steps you can take to ensure that you, your loved ones, and your home are as safe as possible should a twister touch down.

 

● Identify the safest place for shelter.  In your home, this is likely the basement or storm cellar.  If underground safety is unavailable, head to the centermost part of your home, like a small interior room or hallway, on the lowest level.  Your safe place should be away from windows, doors, and exterior walls. The more walls between you and the outside, the better!

● Become familiar with your community’s weather alert system and make sure all adult and teenagers in your home is aware of what to do when a tornado watch or warning is issued. (Interested in the difference between a watch and a warning?  Click here to learn more.)

● Develop a family plan.  Identify escape routes out of your home and neighborhood, on the off chance they are necessary, then assign an emergency meeting point. 

● Buy or put together an emergency survival kit that consists of: several days’ worth of drinking water and preservable foods, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, basic tools, a portable weather radio, batteries, clothing, blankets, cash and credit cards, necessary medications, work gloves, and important documents (including insurance policies). 

● Finally, conduct periodic tornado drills so all family members are aware of what to do in the event of a twister.

 

Again, the only predictable thing about tornadoes is that they are, for the most part, unpredictable.  So, taking the time to prepare yourself, your family, and your home can prove highly worthwhile when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and twisters touch down.  

Preparing your Home's Exterior for Spring

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As promised, this week we are continuing our series on preparing your home for the spring season.  A couple weeks ago, we posted about inside-related chores to spruce up and organize your house in time for spring, so this week’s blog is going to provide you with some tips and tricks to get the outside of your home in tip-top shape.  We’ll call it The Exterior Edition


 

Undeniably, your home’s exterior is the primary victim of winter’s harsh elements.  And it is for this reason that we should all focus a little time and attention on the outside of our houses in preparation for spring and all the weather-related conditions that come with it!  Keep reading for some simple ideas on what you can do to prepare your pad for the warmer days ahead. 

 

● Begin by walking around your home to examine the caulking of windows and doors, as well as the weather stripping that surrounds those entrances. Old, dry, cracked caulking and dysfunctional weather stripping should be replaced.

● Next, (safely!) get on the roof to check flashing, caulking, and shingles in preparation for spring storms.  This might seem like a lot of work, but in the end, leak prevention and making proper roof repairs will be worth the effort!  Check specifically for broken or missing shingles, as well as, rust and mold. 

● And while you’re already up on the roof, take the time to clean out gutters and downspouts. Go the extra mile and check for proper drainage by running a hose on the roof and watching where the water flows. If leaks are found, caulking or epoxy can be used to seal it once the area dries. 

● Spring is the ideal time to pressure wash your siding to clean it and prevent mold formation. 

● While you have that pressure washer handy, use it to clean walkways and other concrete areas after removing any debris, leaves, or tree limbs.

● Finally, begin thinking ahead to any landscaping or planting plans you might have and get prepared.  Replace old, cracked hoses and pull out any gardening tools that were stored over winter.  That way, as soon as that warm weather arrives for good, you’ll be well on your way to a perfectly manicured yard!

 

Your home (both inside and out!) should be a place to relax and enjoy the (soon-to-be) spring weather.  By preparing the inside of your home for spring AND following these simple steps to get the outside in shape too, you and your house will be ready to soak up that sun in no time!

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2