Many of us in the UK will have experienced some kind of storm damage to our property following gale force winds, and whilst severe weather of this kind is rare and can be of a strength and magnitude which, inevitably, will create some element of damage, there are many steps you can take which will help you minimise the risk of storm damage to your home and belongings during extreme weather conditions.
Preparation for Stormy Weather
If severe stormy weather is forecast, there are several things you should do to minimise the danger to both your property and to the people living inside.
“Battening down the hatches” is a well used phrase when looking at what you can do and this should incorporate securing loose items that can be blown around or can be most at risk in the event of a severe storm. Things like garden furniture, barbecues, bikes, toys and tools left outside can all become a hazard during severe weather and they should all be well secured and stowed in a safe place and you should make sure your shed is as protected as well as it can be. It’s amazing how many people fail to secure their shed door which can wreak havoc if it’s left to blow off its hinges.
Keeping your roof tiles and guttering in good shape is important. If they are loose, they are often the first ‘casualties’ in a storm or strong winds. You need to make sure that your gutters are not only securely fixed but that they are kept free of twigs, leaves and moss as that can lead to flooding and problems with damp inside your home if they’re not properly maintained.
Make sure that any large trees within your property boundary are kept trimmed and that there are no long, heavy or loose branches which could damage your house, shed, greenhouse, conservatory or windows. After roof tiles, trees are the most common cause of damage to a property during a storm or high winds.
Doors and windows should be firmly closed and locked. Anything made of glass which is exposed to the outside elements is particularly vulnerable. Here in the UK, extreme weather is, fortunately, quite rare, although it has seemed to have become more commonplace over the past few years. Nevertheless, if you live on certain exposed coasts which are renowned for bearing the brunt of stormy weather, you may want to consider buying storm shutters or having some kind of temporary plywood cover which you can fix securely to protect glass windows and doors in the event of a storm. Don’t forget to protect skylights too if you have them.
If you have a car(s), make sure that you put it in the garage if you have one and that your garage door is secure.
And….When the Storm Hits?
Stay indoors is the golden rule and don’t be tempted to go outside to see if there has been any damage whilst the storm is in full cry. You may get injured by flying debris. Wait until the storm has passed.
If there has been damage which requires repairs to be carried out, make sure that you keep all of your receipts as you may need them when you make an insurance claim. Taking some photographs of the damage will also assist you in a claim as will keeping hold of any ruined possessions should you be claiming for damage to any of the contents of your house.
Whilst no amount of preparation will make you completely immune to extreme weather, a responsible attitude towards the maintenance of your property and the safe storage of movable objects will enable you to minimise the risks of damage to your home and belongings and keep you safe.