|1Clean out the gutters. To prepare for fall and winter rain, clean out your gutters. A clogged gutter can flood your flowerbeds and saturate your homes’ foundation. Once you clear the gutters of debris, give them a nice rinse with a garden hose. This is also a great opportunity to spot any leaks.
2Test home safety devices. Do a walk-through of your home and inspect all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices. Ensure they are working properly and replace batteries as needed. Make it a habit to test these devices every month, and change out every year.
3Swap out summer equipment for winter. Empty the fuel and clean out your lawnmower and trimmer. If you live in a region that’s prone to snow, make sure your snow blower, snow shovels, ice scrapers and gloves are in working order and easily accessible.
4Give your yard some TLC. Trim back any bushes, shrubs or flowers as needed. Inspect your trees for damaged limbs and make sure they’re not too close to your roof or power lines. The goal is to keep branches at least three feet from your house, to help prevent damage to your home’s exterior siding.
5Consider professional inspections. When was the last time your chimney or furnace was professionally cleaned and inspected? The National Fire Protection Association recommends chimneys, fireplaces and vents to be inspected at least once a year for soundness and clearance. HVAC contractors recommended newer furnaces be checked every other year and those over 10 years old to be checked annually, ideally before you turn it on for the first time.
6Assess your lighting. With fall equinox, mornings and evenings will become darker. Do a quick walk-through of your home – inside and out – to assess your lighting. Clean windows and blinds to help accentuate natural light, and add light fixtures to brighten darker spaces.
7Replenish emergency kits. Winter is a notorious season for power outages and wind, snow and rain storms. A basic emergency supply kit should include flashlights, extra batteries, a three-day supply of water and food, and other first-aid supplies. For a full checklist, visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
Check out our CIG emergency preparedness video here.