Our homes are more important now than ever before. During storm season, powerful winds from hurricanes, tornados and other severe storms can put your home at risk. High winds from storms can be unpredictable and uproot trees or create flying debris that can damage your property.
Each September, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes National Preparedness Month, to encourage and remind Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. There are steps you can take to protect your home from severe winds before storms strike. Consider the following:
Take inventory of Your Home Contents. If your property incurs severe damage from a storm you’ll need to share the list of damaged or lost items with your insurance company. In general, a record of the assets you have can help expedite your claim. There are several different ways to keep a list of all your belongings. You can create a visual list with photos, a written list on paper, or digitally. Make sure you keep copies of your photos or documents in a safe space, such as a water-tight container or fire safe. If your list is digitized, keep lists stored securely online or on a flash drive in the same safe as your other documentation.
Review Your Insurance Policies. Take time to review your insurance policies to make sure you’re covered for losses incurred as the result of a natural disaster or severe storm. Damage caused by flooding and hurricanes is generally not covered by your regular homeowner’s policy but can be purchased separately. Talk to your insurance company about any changes or upgrades that need to be made to your policy and make sure all your information on file is up to date.
Reinforce Windows and Doors. High winds can enter your home through windows, cracks, entry doors and garage doors. When wind funnels through your house, the force tends to push upward and could lift the roof, allowing heavy rains to damage the interior of your home.
It is important to seal your windows and doors as tightly as possible. You can purchase and install special storm shutters to cover your windows. Don’t forget about your garage door. Home improvement stores sell hardware that can help reinforce the door.
Secure all Objects Outside of Your Home. Items around your home can take flight during a storm. Remove all dead and dying limbs from your trees, and secure lawn furniture, trashcans, flowerpots and other yard ornaments. Any items that cannot be easily secured can be brought inside your home. Fences or sheds should be firmly attached to the ground and have a solid foundation.