Prepare Your Home For El Niño

Prepare your home for El Niño

Prepare Your Home For El Niño


 El Nino rains have proved to devastate with the destruction of property and loss of lives. This has followed precaution on the part of homeowners to prepare their homes for the El Nino season. There are certain mitigation measures that should be put in place to prepare homes and homeowners for the El Niño rains and prevent the devastating impacts of these rains.

The weather forecast indicates that a projected Godzilla El Nino this year is among the strongest in modern history to hit southern California, areas of LA county and San Bernardino county in the next months. Of greater concern are developed homes down slopes that are in danger of being destroyed by flash floods or washed away by the raging floods. These homes are usually caught up in the storms with reported cases of mudslides, flash floods and landslides sweeping away entire homes with resultant loss of lives and destruction of lives. With previously reported incidences of such cases, it is paramount that certain measures be put in place to ensure minimal damage to homes and loss of lives. These measures should be practiced by homeowners and the entire community to minimize the impact of El Nino rains.

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Homeowners should prepare early enough before the onset of El Nino rains. Preventable and caution measures should be put in place before, during and after the rains to curb the effects of the El Nino rains with their accompanying storms and floods to begin with:

  • The areas surrounding homes including yards and compound should be cleaned and cleared of any fallen trees and debris. Outside furniture should be fastened or removed to avoid them being blown away by storm winds. Any unnecessary bushes or shrubs around homes should be cleared.
  • Drains and gutters should be cleared of debris and cleaned with any other material obstructing them removed. Make sure that the drains and gutters are functioning. Undertake necessary adjustments if necessary, which may include installing mesh guards to the gutters. If the gutters are completely absent, ensure they are installed before the onset of the rains. Drains should be directed to the properly-constructed water system to direct the flow of water. This in turn will ensure that low areas are not easy flooded.
  • Inspect roofs for leakages and repair if present. Look for cracks and gaps where shingles overlap and determine if sheet metal flashing has any holes or are rusty and replace if necessary. Broken windows should be repaired and if there are walls that are weak or unstable should be repaired before the onset of El Nino rains. Other helpful modifications include installing weather stripping on doors and windows.
  • Inspect slope areas around homes. Do stockpile with sandbags in present gulleys. This will keep water from flooding low areas. Sandbags should be placed upstream from drains to prevent debris from blocking drainage inlets and in the process manage floods around homes.
  •  Animal enclosures should be inspected and repaired and other necessary adjustments done before the onset of the El Nino rains. This is aimed at minimizing the incidences of the animals contracting diseases or being washed away by the floods thus preventing incurring such losses.
  • People are advised to add mulch to garden beds that help retain soil moisture after the rainy season is over. This helps stabilize the soil, preventing soil erosion thus maintaining the productivity of the affected areas after the storms
  • Homeowners should ensure that their sewer system is up and running. Any defaults should be repaired. A broken sewer line, especially during the storms and floods, results in reported cases of epidemic waterborne diseases. There should also be an alternative source of clean water. It is advisable to store clean, safe water for drinking as water lines might be broken or disrupted during the storms thus making tap water not safe for consumption.
  • People should stock emergency supplies before the rains. These supplies include food staff, medical supplies, warm clothing, a touch or flashlight and any other basic supplies. These supplies are important especially in cases when the floods cut off homes from surrounding neighborhood. Roads become impassable and washed away bridges leading to shortage or lack of supplies for unspecified periods of times.
  • Homeowners should ensure that important documents like academic certificates or any other paperwork are put in waterproof places to avoid their damage. Other valuables like computers and any other hardware should be put in a protected area.

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Families should be prepared to evacuate their homes. Learn the safest route from your home just in case there is the need to evacuate the house to escape the floods. Homeowners should have with them the local emergency numbers with a portable working phone to use in case they need urgent help and have back up battery devices that charge cell phone.

In the event you are caught up in the storm, and your house is flooded, move to the second floor of the house or the roof if necessary. It is advised that you stay calm and reserved and call the emergency numbers for assistance. Ensure that you have turned off utilities and the main power switch is off.

After the storm has cleared, assess the damage caused; make the necessary repairs including covering broken windows and roofs. Be cautious of opening flooded rooms as they are still a danger if handled carelessly. If the home was destroyed during the storm, consider relocating to safer grounds. Inform the local authorities of the damage and loss of life. This is important as it is used for any future planning and management of the floods and El Nino rains by the government.

If the above measures are put in place and followed, the devastating impact of El Nino rains will be managed. Thus, damage to property and loss of lives minimized.

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