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Tips to Keep You and Your Property Safe from Damaging Windstorms

Mother Nature has a way of surprising us. While a gentle summer breeze is refreshing, strong and forceful winds can cause significant damage to property and even result in injuries or loss of life. But steps can be taken to mitigate your risks before, during and after the winds start blowing.

Ahead of Time

The following steps should be taken ahead of time:

  • Make sure dead branches and trees are removed.
  • Bring in or tie down all outdoor furniture, athletic equipment and other loose items on your property.
  • Keep your gutters and drains cleaned.
  • Inspect your roofing material annually, making sure flashing is in place and that shingles are not loose.
  • Review your insurance policy to verify that all buildings are listed.
  • Have an emergency contact list handy (include emergency providers, contractors, utility company numbers, and administrators contact information)
  • Develop relationships with contractors for supplies and repairs.
  • Have a designated place that is safe. Stock it with water, food, radio, flashlights, communication devices, a first aid kit, cash, and prescriptions.
  • Prepare materials that might be needed to protect property after a storm. This could include tarps, ropes, plywood, chainsaw, pump, and fuel.
  • Know how to turn off the gas and electric.
  • Have a designated plan that includes where to go and what to do should a storm hit.

Windstorms in some parts of the country come with destructive hail. These storms usually come in the spring or fall. Hail can be anything from pea-sized to baseball-sized, and it can wreak extensive damage. It is important to get your vehicles under cover should a hailstorm take place.

When a Windstorm Strikes

  • Listen closely to weather reports.
  • Do NOT go outside.
  • Seek shelter in the designated safe room.
  • Keep any drapes, blinds, or window shades closed to protect occupants from the possibility of breaking glass.
  • If possible, park vehicles in a garage or under a shelter.
  • If driving, pull over to the side of the road—preferably under an overpass or shelter.

Once you are sure the storm has passed, caution should be used in all respects. Your structure could be damaged. Further, as you go outside, use extreme caution as live power lines may be down; and there may be a large amount of debris that could cause bodily injury.

After the Storm

When it is safe to do so, follow these steps:

  • Assess any damage. Take pictures if possible.
  • Treat those who have an injury or seek medical attention for them.
  • Protect property from further damage using tarps or wood.
  • Contact the people who will be needed to secure the facility (such as building contractors, and utility companies).
  • Contact your insurance company.

In summary, it is important to take whatever steps are necessary to prepare for windstorms. A good plan that is communicated to all parties can go a long way in protecting your property from severe losses. More importantly, it can also keep people safe from the harm.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.