Spring is around the corner and with it comes possibly it’s the worst and most severe storms we will experience this year. Although we can’t control Mother Nature, we can readily prepare ourselves for what she brings our way.

Every year, thousands of homes suffer extensive damage from spring storms. Some of this damage is avertable by taking a few measures that ensure both our homes and families remain safe. You can help keep your family and home safe and prepared with these tips.

Examining the Exterior

When it comes to spring storms, there is no full-proof way we can prepare our homes to withstand their fury, but we can minimize their effects.

Before spring season sets in, I do a visual examination of my home’s exterior, looking for any areas that might need repairs or replacements.

When examining my home, I check for damaged parts and secure the areas. We also check the roof to ensure that all the shingles are intact and appropriately adhered.

Tending to the Trees around the House

Old limbs, especially those from tall trees, don’t stand a chance against the strong winds caused by spring storms. It is always best to deal with them before they get a chance to come crashing down on our homes.

When going about this, I do minor pruning and also cut down any large branches that are too close to the house. I also clear all debris around the yard to ensure that they don’t damage my house when they are lifted and propelled by the strong winds.

Stowing all Outside Gear and Furniture

Personally, whenever I hear the weatherman forecasting the occurrence of strong winds in my area, I store all my yard furniture and yard items in my garage. Doing so ensures that they don’t get damaged or become dangerous projectiles that would otherwise damage my house.

Check the Sump Pump

For those of us whose homes have a sump pump, we must test it to ensure that it is clean and in good operational condition.

To ensure that my sump pump never goes off, I recently added a battery-powered backup unit to keep the system working when the power goes out. A better alternative to this is an automatic standby generator that powers not only the sump pump but the rest of the household appliances as well in case of a blackout.

Clean Downspouts and Gutters

The gutter system plays a crucial role in diverting water away from the foundation and facades of our homes. Gutters are especially crucial during spring storms as they bring with them an influx of precipitation.

Failed gutters and downspouts may cause roof leakage, flooding of the basement or even cause the foundation to erode.

I check my gutters and downspouts at least twice a year- and shortly before spring- to ensure that they can handle severe precipitation.

Creating a Safety Plan

Whenever disaster strikes, having a well thought safety plan Is the most effective way to protect ourselves and our families.

Among the things that I prepare for are:

• Flash flooding

• Lightning strikes

• Severe thunderstorms

• Tree and tree limbs falling

• Tornado warnings and watches.

Preparing for these possible disasters does not only involve reinforcing our homes and removing potential projectiles, but it also involves planning on what to do if the worst is to happen.

I do this by keeping my emergency kit handy. My kit includes:

• three gallons of water for each member of my household-enough to last us three days

• Non-perishable food, also enough to last us three days

• Whistle to signal for help

• Medication, both prescription and non-prescription

• Local maps

• First aid kit

• Battery-powered radio and flashlight.

They say prevention is better than cure and when it comes to our homes, well, it’s much cheaper than repairs. With these tips, I ensure that my family and home is that much closer to safety.