Ready for a Wind Storm?

    Is your home ready to withstand powerful gusts of wind? While damage from strong storms is often inevitable, there are steps you can take to minimize harm to your property and protect your personal safety. You shouldn’t wait until severe weather hits to take action – plan ahead for wind storms, and any storms, by following these steps.
    Prior to the arrival of a storm, you should take the following steps:
    1. Build an emergency kit. Your kit should include: A three-day supply (minimum) of water and non-perishable food for each family member, First-aid supplies, Personal hygiene items, Portable radio, Flashlight, Fresh batteries, Basic tools, Work gloves, Portable lanterns, Signaling device (such as an air horn), Prescription medications, Extra car keys, Extra eyeglasses, Cash, Important contact numbers (such as medical centers, insurance agents, utilities, neighbors and family members), Copies of important documents (such as identification, insurance policies, ownership certificates and banking information)
    2. Create and practice a plan of action for your family. Discuss where and how you will seek shelter during a storm, ensure that everyone is aware of the location of first-aid kits and fire extinguishers, and choose a place for your family to meet if you get separated. Establish a contact person to communicate with concerned relatives, and ensure that you know where and how to shut off utilities at the main switches or valves in the event of a disaster.
    3. Go through your yard and secure or remove anything that could blow away. Things to keep in mind are lawn furniture, trash and recycling bins, hanging planters, wind chimes, bird feeders, and wood piles.
    4. Maintain trees and shrubbery in your yard, removing weak branches and eliminating trees that could fall on your home during a storm. Falling trees and blowing debris in storms often cause fatalities and severe structural damage.
    5. Replace rock or gravel landscaping material in your yard with shredded bark, which won’t cause damage if it is blown around by strong winds. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers additional information for protecting your property from strong winds.
    6. Stay tuned to local radio/TV for important weather updates.
    7. Identify the safest area of your home, a place where you can take shelter when the storm hits. In most structures, this will be the basement or a small interior room without windows, such as a bathroom. In a high-rise building, seek out a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Close interior doors, and put as many walls between you and the storm as possible.
    8. Identify escape routes from your home or neighborhood, and note whether you need any additional equipment such as a rope ladder.
    9. Secure top-heavy furniture that could topple over, such as bookcases, to the walls. Before a storm arrives, move furniture away from doors and windows, if possible.
    10. Stay away from windows and doors when the storm arrives, and keep all exterior doors and windows closed to prevent rain and falling debris damage in your home’s interior.

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