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Are you storm ready?

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Are you storm ready?

Severe storms can strike at any time. They are often unpredictable and can cause major damage to property, as well as serious injury and even loss of life. Take steps now to protect your home and your finances from storm damage.

Severe storms including hailstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and hurricanes cause billions of dollars in damage in the United States every year. When big storms hit, many families and business owners are disorganized and unprepared. When preparing for a storm, it is important to have a storm plan and make sure everyone in your home and business knows the plan, in case of emergency.

National Storm Damage Center is a consumer advocacy organization that assists property owners before and after violent storms. The NSDC offers free information on their website, visit http://stormdamagecenter.org/ for more information. The following excerpts from their site can help you take proactive steps now to protect your family and property from severe storms before they hit and help you to assess damage after the storm.

Storm Preparation Information

Having a plan increases your chances of keeping you and your family safe. If you live in an area prone to flooding, consider buying flood insurance, as flooding is typically not covered under most homeowners’ insurance policies. In order to stay safe, it is important to understand your risks and have a plan of action in place before the storm hits.

Creating Your Storm Safety Plan

The first step is to create a written disaster plan and review it with everyone in your family. Make sure everyone knows where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. Identify an emergency meeting place, such as a park, building, or other landmark near your home. If you are separated during the storm, have everyone meet at the designated location.

It is smart to assign an out-of-state friend or relative to be your family's emergency contact person. Teach all of the adults and responsible children how to shut off utilities in your home. Shutting off gas and water mains can decrease your risk of additional damage.

To prepare for a storm, each family should have an emergency kit. Since you may have to evacuate on short notice, pack your emergency kit into backpacks and have them ready to go. Everyone in the family should know exactly where the emergency kits are located.

Your emergency kit should contain:

  • Battery powered flashlight
  • Portable battery powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • List of emergency phone numbers
  • Prescriptions and essential medicines
  • First aid kit
  • Nonperishable emergency food
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person, per day)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Disposable camera
  • Credit cards and cash
  • Change of clothing
  • Sturdy shoes or boots
  • Important papers, identification and bank information

When a severe storm is approaching, tune into a local TV or radio broadcast covering the storm and follows evacuation orders, if they are issued. Check your emergency supplies and make sure you have enough water for everyone in your home, typically 1 gallon of water per person, per day for at least 3 days. Fill up your bathtubs with clean water. Turn your refrigerator and freezer up to the maximum setting so your food will stay cold for as long as possible in the event of a power outage. If you have storm shutters on your windows, make sure they are closed and secured. If not you can use pre-cut plywood to cover exposed glass. To prevent damage from flying objects, bring outdoor furniture, tools, pots and toys in from outside. Secure important documents, photographs and other valuables in a waterproof and fireproof case.

Fill your car up with fuel and review evacuation routes. If you are ordered to evacuate, you will want to leave immediately, so have your emergency kits and supplies already packed in the car. Before leaving home, unplug appliances, shut off the electricity, and other utilities including water and gas main lines. If you have time, consider moving furniture, electronics and other valuables to a second floor, or elevate it the best you can to project against flooding. Secure your doors by locking and bolting them shut before you leave.

If you evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind. If you have pets make sure they have an emergency kit with 3-5 days-worth of food and supplies, including a pet carrier, leash and current identification tags. Since most emergency shelters will not accept pets, if a severe storm is headed your way, it is always smart to try and place your pets at a kennel, or with a friend that is out of harm's way.

Types of Storm Damage

Severe storms including hailstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and hurricanes cause billions of dollars in damage in the United States every year. When big storms hit, many families find themselves disorganized and unprepared. When preparing for a storm, it is important to have a storm plan and make sure everyone in your home knows the plan, in case of emergency.

Roof Damage

When most people think of roofing shingles, they are actually thinking of asphalt shingles, the most common type of shingles in the country. Asphalt shingles are made from asphalt re-enforced with either organic material or fiberglass and they are coated with small metallic surface granules that protect the roof from UV-rays that speeds deterioration. Asphalt shingles come in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. During severe storms asphalt shingles can be seriously damaged and require repair or replacement.

 

 

On an asphalt roof, hail damage looks like a dark spot, or bruise, where the roofing granules have been knocked away. In some cases, you may find holes, cracking, or missing shingles on roofs with hail or storm damage. After a tornado, you may notice split seams and torn or missing shingles. This can result in leaking and serious water damage, which can lead to mold formation and wood rot, which can compromise the structural integrity of your roof resulting in collapse. In severe windstorms, it is common for shingles or sections of the roof to be missing altogether.

On other types of roofs, including shake (wood), metal, tile and slate, damage can include broken or cracked shingles, missing shingles, torn or split seams, and missing sections of the roof. If a tree limb or other debris has fallen onto your roof during the storm, you may have structural damage, and will want to exercise extreme caution.

Common Signs of Roof Damage  

  • Missing shingles
  • Bruises or dented asphalt shingles
  • Cracked or broken tile, slate, or concrete shingles
  • Granules collecting in gutters or downspouts
  • Leaks in your roof or ceiling
  • Dents on vents, gutters or flashing

 

Exterior Damage: Siding, Stucco and Paint

When a severe storm hits, the exterior of your home sustains the most damage. Hail, wind, heavy rain and flying debris are common causes of exterior damage. If your home has been hit by hail, you may notice discolored spots, dents, chips or cracks in your paint or siding. If you have a stucco home, look for cracking, chipping and holes in the stucco.

Common signs of exterior damage

  • Dings and dents
  • Cracks and splitting
  • Holes and breaks
  • Chipping and discoloration

 

Window Damage

In high wind areas, many homes have protective storm shutters to protect exposed glass. However, even with storm shutters, many windows can be cracked or damaged. If your home has been hit by hail, high winds, or a tornado, cracked or broken windows and damaged window casings are the most common signs of damage. Remember, a broken, shattered or missing window is dangerous. Watch out for shards of glass and make sure you board up any shattered windows until they can be repaired.

Common Signs of Window Damage

  • Shattered windows
  • Cracks and holes
  • Broken panes
  • Damaged frame

 

If you suspect your property has been damage during a storm, your first step is to call your insurance agent and request an adjuster to come out and inspect the damage.

Criterium Peters Engineers, Inc. offers a variety of services to assist a property owner after a storm, please contact us at info1@criterium-peters.com or 570.752.8044 to arrange a free phone consultation to discuss your building problem. Most engineering consulting services are highly dependent on the client's desired scope of work. As desired, we will help you define a scope of services and prepare a priced proposal free of charge. If a scope cannot be adequately defined, we often work on a time and materials basis.