Batten Down the Hatches! 13 Ways to Prepare for Storms & Minimize Damage
The first day of spring just arrived and with it comes the risk of storms and the damage they can cause. Hail, strong winds, thunderstorms, and tornadoes can put your safety at risk and cause billions worth of property damage across the U.S. each year. In fact, approximately 3,000 hailstorms occur annually, with some hail reaching the size of a softball. An average of 1,000 tornadoes a year causes $1.1 billion in property damage, 1,500 injuries and 80 deaths, according to Allstate.
Below are some emergency preparedness tips you can easily do before and after the storm to ensure your safety and limit damage to your property:
Secure Outdoor Items.
High winds and tornados can turn something as simple as a trash can or patio furniture into a dangerous projectile. Debris carried by high winds can penetrate your home, causing damage and possible injury. During a storm warning, secure anything outside that can be picked up by the wind and blown around.
Prepare an Emergency Kit.
A three-day supply kit should include water and non-perishable food items, as well as a first aid kit, emergency radio, flashlight, batteries, lanterns and more.
Reinforce the Garage Door.
Garage doors are vulnerable to high winds. High winds and tornados can damage or blow them, creating a high-pressure situation which can damage the roof as well. Reinforce your garage door at its weakest point with wood, metal stiffeners or a retrofit kit. If a storm is approaching, move your automobiles into the garage. If installing a new garage door, consider one that is designed to withstand high winds.
Clean Gutters Twice a Year.
Gutters can fill with seed pods in the spring and leaves in the fall. Clear gutters twice a year to prevent water damage and ensure that rain drains off the roof properly.
Large hail can shatter windows. Patio and lawn furniture can be dented or broken by hail so move these items indoors or under a covered area. Whenever possible, park your vehicles inside to prevent damage. Consider installing shingles on your roof that can withstand hail.
Prevent Flooding and Standing Water.
A lawn that is under water for more than a few days will die. Consider consulting a landscape expert to address drainage issues. Also, make sure rainwater draining from the roof is being directed away from the foundation by using efficient downspouts.
Create and Practice a Plan of Action for Your Family.
Discuss where and how you will seek shelter during a storm, ensuring that everyone is also aware of the location of first-aid kits and fire extinguishers.
To prevent wind damage, have the roof inspected. Make sure shingles are in good shape and not missing, curled or damaged. Shingles should also meet or exceed the local building codes and be rated high for wind and impact resistance, according to Nationwide Insurance. The roof sheathing should be secure and the connection between the roof and walls tight enough to keep updrafts from lifting off the roof. Ensure that HVAC roof units, skylights, and pipes are properly secure.
Siding, Walls & Doors.
If your house has siding, check to make sure it hasn’t blown off. Missing siding can lead to leaks, water damage, mold, and pests. Also, ensure that the building is well sealed. Siding and windows should be tightly attached and entry doors should be triple-hinged and secure. Overhead doors should be braced sufficiently and able to withstand high winds.
A small leak can lead to a larger one, especially during a severe storm. Leaks can also cause wash-outs, which leads to costly damage.
Power outages are common during major storms. Losing power can lead to spoiled food, downed sump pumps, and flooded basements. For a long-term emergency preparedness strategy, consider buying a generator. Most importantly, just be sure that adequate venting is in place and that it’s being operated according to manufacturer guidelines.
Purchase an Emergency Weather Radio.
These are very inexpensive and alert you in the case of an emergency. All in all, look for one that you can both plug into the wall and run on batteries.
Maintain Trees on Your Property.
Remove dead tree branches, which can break off in a storm, posing a danger to people as well as buildings and vehicles in the vicinity. Trim overhanging branches, targeting those that have a large spreading crown. Judge whether each tree is strong enough to endure a storm. Moreover, some trees are more prone to storm damage than others. A shallow-rooted tree growing in soft soil, for instance, can easily topple over. Some potential problems to look for include cracks in the trunk or major limbs; hollow and decayed trees; trees that lean significantly; limbs in contact with power lines; mushrooms growing from the bark indicating a decayed or weakened stem; V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped ones; and crossing branches that rub or interfere with one other.
Anderson Bros. Steamatic offers storm damage recovery services for residential, commercial and industrial clients. We offer 24-hour emergency services and can be on site within an hour. Call us today at 616.259.4904 or visit www.steamaticab.com to help you with your storm damage!