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Emergency Preparedness: How to Prevent Storm Damage


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It seems that every day another weather story makes the news. From flooding rains and high winds to hurricanes to that final ice storm that knocks out the power - weather can affect us wherever we live with very little warning. The good news is, there are ways to prepare for severe weather before it happens and prevent potential storm damage.

Here are some emergency preparedness tips you can easily do before and after the storm to limit the effect weather will have on your yard, home and lifestyle.

Prevent Storm Damage from Wind & Debris

The first step in emergency preparedness is to remove dead tree branches. They can break off in a storm, posing a danger to people as well as your car, deck and other items in the yard. Cut back branches that overhang your house. A fallen branch can do costly storm damage to the roof or siding, and overhanging tree limbs deposit seeds and leaves in your gutters, potentially clogging them and causing overflow in a storm.

To further secure your home against wind damage:

  • Cover all of the home's windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect windows from high winds.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Close the shutters.

Keep the Lights On During a Power Outage with a Generator

Power outages are a common occurrence during hurricanes and major storms. Losing power during a storm can lead to spoiled food, downed sump pumps and flooded basements, not to mention the discomfort and anxiety it can cause your family.

For a long-term emergency preparedness strategy, consider buying a home generator. The on-call power of a generator - either portable generator or a permanently installed standby generator - can take over during a power outage, keeping important appliances such as your sump pump, refrigerator and freezer running.

Already have a generator? If you have a standby generator, it should start and stop automatically and won’t need to be fueled manually. If you have a portable generator, follow these safety measure safety measures when operating the machine:

• Have a working CO detector
• Only use portable generators outdoors, not in any partially enclosed  or enclosed areas
• Keep them away from windows, doors, crawlspaces and overhangs
• Always read the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions before operating
• Never add gasoline to a hot or running portable generator

>> Learn more about how to select the best generator size for your home.

Weatherproof Your Home & Yard against Water Damage

When water doesn't or can’t drain properly, it can cause lasting storm damage to your house and lawn. These are some common practices to prevent water damage before it starts. 

Keep your gutters clean. This can be a twice-a-year project depending on how many trees are near your home. The seed pods of many trees can clog gutters during spring; leaves are the obvious problem in fall. You can add the gutter debris to your compost pile. With clear gutters, water damage is less likely because it will drain off the roof properly.

Fix drainage problems in your yard to prevent flooding and standing water. They won't go away on their own. Landscape and grading experts can offer possible solutions to even the toughest drainage issues. Solutions range from adding soil to low areas, to creating a French drain or installing plastic drainage pipes to draw water away from where it stands. Lawn that is under water for more than a few days will suffocate and die, creating a recurring problem unless the underlying issue is addressed.

Lawn Care Before & After the Storm
At Briggs & Stratton, we love our yards more than most, but there is a proper time and place for taking care of it. Here are recommended lawn care tips to recognize for your safety before a storm and yard clean up afterward.

Don't work in your yard when a storm is in the area. Thunderstorms can be very dangerous, even if they seem miles away. If you hear thunder, stop mowing, raking, or whatever you are doing in the yard and seek shelter. Don't rush to complete a task - lightening can strike long before the rain starts. After you hear the last thunderclap, wait 30 minutes before going back outside.

Pick up yard debris once the storm has passed. Sometimes, the best time for emergency preparedness is immediately after a storm, when it’s top of mind. When the storm has passed, assess any storm damage in your yard. Remove broken tree limbs and pick up windblown debris immediately to avoid injuries and to limit your yard clearing duties the next time you mow.

The weather is always unpredictable, but by taking a few steps to prepare, we can avoid some of those harrowing storm stories. Visit http://www.ready.gov for more tips on keeping your family safe during a storm.

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