Tips for Protecting Your Property from Severe Winds
Severe winds can occur anytime and cause extreme damage to your home and property.
Owning a property is one of the most important investments most people make in their lives. We work hard to provide a home and a future for ourselves and our loved ones. Why risk losing it when bad weather hits close to home? Severe winds can occur anytime, or they can accompany storms like tornados and severe thunderstorms. Flying debris or downed trees and power lines can make severe winds a threat to lives, property, and utilities. While we can’t prevent severe winds from happening, there are simple, low cost ways to secure your property to minimize damage and keep your home and your future safe.
Tips to help protect your home from severe winds
INSIDE YOUR HOME:
1. REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE POLICY
Taking a few minutes to check your homeowners or mobile home insurance policy and verify your coverage can help you process a claim in the future and get back on your feet faster after a storm.
2. DOCUMENT YOUR HOME’S CONTENTS
Having a list of all your belongings will help with the insurance claims process. Consider documenting your contents visually, either by taking photos of high-value items or walking through your home and videotaping your belongings for reference. Do this at least once a year, but twice is even better!
3. IF YOU LOSE POWER, UNPLUG ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
To prevent power-surge damage, make sure to unplug all appliances until after the storm is over and power is restored. Protect your electronics from power strikes with surge protectors. You may even want to invest in a whole house generator to help you get through the frequent Oklahoma power outages.
4. BUILD A SAFE ROOM OR STORM SHELTER
Even if your home is built “to code,” it may not be able to withstand all types of severe winds, like tornadoes or thunderstorms. Safe rooms provide a space where you and your family can seek shelter. They provide a high level of protection. If your safe room is below ground, it must be designed to avoid gathering water during the heavy rains that can come with severe windstorm events. There are several local professionals that can build above and below ground storm shelters and safe rooms.
5. PROTECT WINDOWS AND GLASS DOORS WITH STORM SHUTTERS
Storm shutters prevent windows from breaking when there is windborne debris. You can also add shatterresistant film or stormproof high-impact glass to help defend your glass from breaking.
6. REINFORCE GARAGE DOORS AND DOUBLE-ENTRY DOORS
Did you know your these doors can fail under wind pressure? Garage doors can be reinforced with girts and by strengthening the wheel tracks. Double-entry doors can be reinforced with a heavy-duty deadbolt, adding slide bolts on one of the doors, and using longer hinge attachments on the door and frame.
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME:
1. FORTIFY YOUR ROOF
Your roof is your first line of defense in a high wind event. Re-adhere any loose shingles and consider impact-resistant shingles when installing a roof. Install roof strappings to anchor the roof framing to the wall framings so the wind can’t lift your roof off your house.
2. TRIM OR REMOVE DEAD, DAMAGED, OR ROTTING TREES AND LIMBS
Make sure any damaged trees on the property are trimmed or removed on a regular basis because high winds can cause trees and branches to fall and damage your property. Your home should be at least a full-grown tree’s height away from the base of any tree (usually about 40 feet away).
3. SECURE OBJECTS OUTSIDE THE HOME
Loose shingles, your dog’s house, trash cans, and sports equipment can be picked up by the wind and cause damage to your home. Secure outdoor objects like furniture, trampolines, basketball hoops, gutters, and downspouts.
4. SEAL CRACKS AND GAPS
Prevent wind or water from coming in by making sure caulking around windows and doors is in good shape and not cracked, broken, or missing. Fill any holes or gaps around pipes or wires that enter your home with a waterproof sealant.
5. SECURE YOUR MANUFACTURED HOME TO THE GROUND
If you live in a manufactured home, bolt your entire structure to the foundation using anchor bolts. If you are also in the floodplain, your community may have specific requirements to keep you safe. Contact your local floodplain manager or permitting official for more information. Use a professional engineer or architect to make sure the anchoring system is designed and installed correctly.
6. SECURE FENCING, PORCHES, CANOPIES, SHEDS AND OTHER OUTDOOR STRUCTURES
Have them inspected and make sure they are firmly attached and in sound structural condition. Secure any parts of fencing that appear weak or loose.
7. REPLACE GRAVEL AND ROCK LANDSCAPING MATERIALS
Rock and gravel materials can cause serious damage during a severe wind event. During particularly strong wind events, gravel has been found in mailboxes and has even shredded vinyl siding. Replace these materials with a softer material, such as mulch or dirt.
8. ANCHOR ANY FUEL TANKS AND EXTERNAL UTILITY LINKS
If you have an exterior fuel tank or any of your utilities are located outside, anchor or tie them down according to the ground anchor instructions. This will help reduce the risk of them overturning or sliding.
Oklahoma weather can be crazy and unpredictable. Make sure you're spending time on the good days to make sure you're protected during the bad. It's important to stay weather aware in our state and you may want to make sure you have a emergency weather radio to help keep you up to date. Stay safe out there!