Some risks are seasonal and “weather” can mean different things depending on your location. This time of year, the fall equinox is upon us and means it’s time to get ready for weather!

Here are simple reminders to help you, your family, your employees, and your business to be prepared. A special thanks goes to Consumer Reports and Scott Hauge, president of Small Business California for their expertise and advice.

  • Storms are inevitable. Whether it’s hurricanes, or just a big rain or wind storm, your property needs protection. Clean and clear gutters, rooftops, downspouts and drains – when in the wrong places, water is a disaster! Report clogged city drains that are nearby too. Prepare for possible flooding with sandbags and portable pumps if needed.
  • Heating systems will be firing up soon. Flues and chimneys can be blocked with soot, debris, or animals; filters need to be changed; many systems need an annual maintenance tune-up. Getting it done now – before there’s a problem – can cost much less than an emergency visit from your heating specialist, especially on the coldest day of the year.
  • Smoke and CO2 alarms are lifesavers. Now is the time to check they are functioning, and to replace batteries. Do you have alarms in all appropriate locations? Many experts recommend photoelectric or dual-sensor detectors – not just ionizing ones. Check this RiskSmart Tip for more details and resource links.
  • Frozen pipes can ruin your whole day. Exterior sprinkler valves, water pipes, faucets and hoses need extra protection. Shut off water to exterior lines, insulate crawl-space pipes, drain water from spigots, filters, hoses, etc.
  • Auto travel can be a survival test. Make sure you have appropriate tires for your area. Consumer Reports (Nov. 2015) says all-season tires are inadequate on snowy pavement and AWD vehicles do not help in braking. Look up “auto survival kit” on the Internet for suggestions and checklists. Anywhere where severe weather can hit, the mantra for your gas tank should be, “half full is empty” – fill’er up!
  • Power outages are not enlightening. Check flashlights and have extra batteries on hand. An emergency radio can be an excellent helpmate. Keep your devices charged – you never know when a loss of power might happen. Check/maintain emergency generators – and keep them outside! Consider an alternative way to cook meals like a propane stove and extra tanks – also outside of course!

What Weather Alert reminders do you put on your calendar at this time of year? Get FEMA’s Alerts Mobile App on your smartphone –

Call or email Charles (510-685-3883 | if you’d like to discuss your unique situation – there’s never a cost for brainstorming!