Posts Tagged ‘wind damage’

6 Severe Weather Safety Tips

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Wizard of OzHearing a tornado siren go off should not be your cue to begin your home storm preparation. That process should begin today, if it hasn’t already.

Keep supplies handy

If a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning hits, having the following items on hand can keep you and yours safe and prepared:
  • Wind-up flashlight (can usually be found in camping supplies at a department store).
  • Wind-up radio (same).
  • Battery-powered flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio w/extra batteries
  • Camping lantern
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable snacks (trail mix, dry cereal, dried fruit)
  • Cell phone
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Sleeping bags
  • Reading material
  • Games

Secure what you can

Some things, you can’t prepare for  -- such as the wind knocking a tree into your roof. Some things, you can prepare for – wind knocking out a window, for example.
  • Before a high-intensity storm, a quick preventive measure is taping an “X” on your windows with something as light as masking tape. It strengthens the integrity of the glass, and is easy to clean up after the danger has passed. Nailing down loose shingles and edging on your roof is also a must.
  • Also, if your house is the highest point in the surrounding area, you can install inexpensive metal poles or rebar on opposite corners of your house, above the roofline, to act as lightning rods. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing addition, it can save a host of damage during thunderstorms.
  • Put away all lawn furniture, toys and loose garbage in your garage.
If you find yourself in the path of an oncoming storm, know where you are going to take shelter beforehand. Hitting the panic button because you don’t know where to go is the worst plan going. If you have a storm cellar (and most people don’t), that’s obviously your go-to place in case of a tornado, severe thunderstorm or straight-line wind storm (derecho). Ditto for a basement (pick a spot in the northeast corner of the basement, if possible – tornadoes generally barrel in from the southwest). If you live in an apartment building or house with no basement, find an interior room away from glass and outside walls, if possible – probably a closet or bathroom. Drape a blanket or sleeping bag over yourself to shield you from falling debris or broken glass. Do not open windows to relieve pressure – it can make the situation worse! If you live in a mobile home, have these steps firmly in mind now that storm season has begun:
  • Do not stay in your home. Even with tie-down straps, mobile homes are like cardboard boxes in the teeth of a straight-line wind or tornado.
  • Establish a safe place that you can go in a hurry if there are serious tornado watches in the area. This could be a friend’s house, an apartment with an interior room, a church or perhaps a public building with a basement. If there’s a tornado warning posted nearby, be sure you can get to your safe spot very quickly. Otherwise, you’ll be caught in a car – and that’s worse.
  • Get Down. If you have no place else to go, find a culvert or a low spot on the ground and lie down flat, protecting your head with a firm object or your arms.
Understand that many injuries and deaths in serious storms can be avoided with the proper plan. Just make sure you have that plan ready and memorized before the storm hits – that way you won’t have to think. You just work the plan and live to tell about it. Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


3 Tips for Cleaning up After Wind Damage

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

wind damageNow that winter snows are melting across the Midwest, homeowners unfortunately have other messes to think about with the approach of storm season. When thunderstorms, tornadoes or the rare but long lasting windstorms called derechos, sweep through and damage your roof or trees, don’t rely on your own wits to fix the aftermath. Instead, do what any kid would do – call for help.

Power Down

Strong winds in any wooded area inevitably knock down tree branches and even larger limbs – making after-storm cleanup all the more dangerous. Home and property owners whose trees are near overhead power lines should make sure they have cut tree limbs back at the beginning of storm season. And even though utility companies have regular tree-trimming schedules, downed limbs still cause about 30 percent of all power outages, according to Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Green Bay, Wis. If a limb should knock down an electrical line, follow a simple rule: assume the line IS HOT until it’s back on the pole. “If there’s debris down by lines, you’re going to want to make sure the utility company comes out to make sure that line is not energized,” says Lisa Prunty, public relations manager for Wisconsin Public Service. “There may be more debris if we have to cut trees to get into the area that’s affected. So then again, we would have that customer wait until we know that that line is de-energized or back up on the pole where it should be.” In preparation for high winds, WPS also advises people to stow anything that could blow into the air and into a power transformer -- lawn furniture, even Mylar balloons.

Fiddling on the roof

Before storms hit, make sure edging and tiles on your roof aren’t loose or drooping. High winds can grab loose tiles and fixtures in a heartbeat and peel them off like an orange rind. Should tiles or other pieces of your roof get damaged, do-it-yourselfers should inspect the carnage carefully. Water from a rainstorm can seep through damaged tiles and – depending on how long the leak has been there – ruin the plywood underneath, making a walk on the roof more dangerous. When in doubt, call a reputable roofer, preferably one that you or someone you trust knows. If you don’t know one, while you’re on the phone with your insurance company, ask an adjuster about the trusted contractors in your area that her or she uses (more on that later).

Too good to be true

What you don’t want to do is hire – much less give a deposit to – the first roofing outfit that blows into your neighborhood after the storm blows out. If your roof is damaged badly enough to require professional repair work, have that work done by somebody who really knows what to do. Beware especially of roofing crews that:
  • Don’t have a local address.
  • Have only a local P.O. box for an address.
  • Offer to fix your roof for far less than going market rates (for those, ask other local contractors or builders).
  • Can’t provide proof of bonding or insurance.
  • Can’t provide references from past jobs in the area.
Roofing crews running scams often try to talk homeowners into hiring them and paying them in a hurry. Many of them track storms on The Weather Channel or other news sources and show up amazingly quickly after the storm subsides. They may even work quickly – but they’ll often do substandard work that that will need to be replaced in a few years. Worse, many skip town before completing the job or doing any work at all. To avoid scam artists, make sure you have an insurance adjuster inspect extensive damage before you hire out any repair work. Then, find out what repair work really needs to be done and ask advice about local roofing companies. At the end of the day, doing what you can to avoid trouble before and after harsh spring storms will save you a lot of added grief – and help you enjoy the spring weather all the more. download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  



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