El Niño Preparedness Checklist

Worried about El Niño?

Print out this basic checklist to help get ready for winter storms.

  • Register your cell phone with AlertOC for emergency notifications.
  • Check your roof for leaks, especially around flashing where many leaks occur.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts.
  • Clear culverts and maintain proper drainage around your property. If you have changed to drought-tolerant landscaping, your drainage patterns may have changed.
  • Repaint the wood trim on your home. Paint is a barrier against water intrusion.
  • Check window glazing for leaks, and re-glaze if needed.
  • Check your property for proper grading and surfacing, including making sure water runs away from walls.
  • Have shovels, sandbags, plastic sheeting and other emergency equipment on hand. Store in a dry, accessible location.
  • Sandbags aren't the only thing that diverts water. Straw-waddle landscaping tubing and even bags of dirt can direct water away from structures. Make sure you have them on hand.
  • Check stressed trees by calling in an arborist if you have concerns. The drought has been hard on trees, and sudden rains are likely to fell more than a few. For trees in the right-of-way, contact the appropriate agency.
  • Secure yard furniture, especially items that might blow away and cause damage during a storm.
  • Scan important documents and put on a flash drive or in the cloud. Store the information or drive in a safe location.
  • Secure important family items, such as photographs, jewelry, mementos, etc.
  • Prepare a family disaster plan and family disaster kit. For more information go to www.readyoc.org.
  • Consider flood insurance, even if you're not in a high-risk area.
  • Assemble emergency supply kits for your home, workplace and vehicle.
  • Maintain fuel supplies in your car in case power outages result in a fuel supply problems.
  • If your property is prone to power outages, consider a small generator.
  • If you have below-ground areas such as basements or garages, consider a sump pump. If you
    already have one, make sure it is working.
  • If you use an automatic watering system, turn it off during the rainy season.
  • As we're still in a drought, consider purchasing a rain barrel to catch water.
  • Make your house pest-proof if ants and other pests invade your home during rainy weather.
  • Check your car tires for wear. Purchase new tires if needed.
  • Buy new windshield wipers if needed.
  • Make sure your automobile's lights are working.
  • Make sure your vehicle's brakes are in good, working order.

*List partly derived from L.A. Times, "28 Things to do to prepare for El Nino rains this season."