Taking Storm-Proofing into Your Own Hands*

The most effective way to address storm damage is to prevent it from occurring. Insurance companies encourage you to take steps to protect your home and family. While it is best to hire a licensed contractor to assess your structural needs, here are three simple and effective storm-proofing techniques that can easily be done in a weekend.

  1. Walk around your yard and pick up anything that could become windborn debris. Common household items such as BBQ grills, yard ornaments, outdoor play toys, trash cans and patio furniture can become dangerous if they are picked up by high-powered winds. It is best to store these items indoors during a storm.
  2. Trim the trees around your house. Be sure to remove any dead or dying limbs and branches. Also remove any limbs and branches that touch or hang over the home or building.
  3. Using a foam sealant or a waterproof caulk, seal gaps in walls, around windows and doors, and around all pipes or utility boxes leading into your house. This will reduce the risk of wind-driven water leaking inside during heavy rains. Once inside, this water can soak walls, floors and even ceilings, causing extensive water damage and weeks of costly repairs.
  4. Reinforce the garage. Most residential tornado damage starts when wind enters through the garage, so you should make sure your garage doors are reinforced. A qualified contractor can determine if the garage door system is able to resist high-speed winds and, if necessary, replace it with a stronger system. If your garage doors are more than eight feet wide, you should consider installing permanent wood or metal stiffeners.
  5. If you are replacing your patio doors or building a new home, consider installing impact-resistant doors made of laminated glass, plastic glazing or a combination of plastic and glass. Likewise, if you're thinking about replacing your home's windows, be sure to install impact-resistant windows.

There are many other do-it-yourself improvements that are effective in making a home or building wind-resistant. For more information, please visit the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety website.

*Source: Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, DisasterSafety.org.

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