Storm Damage Prevention

Prepare Yourself Against Storm Damage

Storms can wreak havoc on any structure or building they comes across. Preparing for these potential disasters, especially if you live in an area prone to large storms, such as tornados and hurricanes, is essential. Long before a storm hits, it is vital to know the ins and outs of your insurance policy.

  • Have your building appraised every five years and assessed for potential risks so that you and your insurance agency have the most up-to-date information.
  • Make any suggested changes to help prevent damage to your property.
  • A generator that can run your heating or air conditioning in the event of a power outage is an advisable storm preparation investment. This will allow you to run equipment such as a dehumidifier, which can help prevent mold growth after flooding.

When the storm is imminent, your preparations should include:

  • Covering windows and glass doors with hurricane shutters or storm panels, or board them up with plywood and plastic sheeting.
  • Knowing where your property’s central water and power shut-offs are located.
  • Securing all outdoor items, such as patio furniture and lawn decorations, or bring them inside, since they can pose a hazard in high winds.
  • Securing all outdoor items, such as patio furniture and lawn decorations, or bring them inside, since they can pose a hazard in high winds.

Once an impending hurricane hits, there often is little that can be done. Luckily, there are preventative measures that you can take to protect your property against wind and water damage. These steps range from those best left to professionals to those for do-it-yourselfers.

Before making structural changes to your property, check local building codes and keep in mind that not all homes require the same degree of storm protection. For example, areas with a high likelihood of hurricanes and other strong storms may benefit greatly from “hurricane straps”, while this may not be an advisable investment for other property owners.

Check with your local American Red Cross or other emergency management offices for information on the area’s flood elevation, which can help you determine how much water is likely to flow into your property.

Also, remember that homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, so it is important to purchase flood insurance. Note: It will be 30 days before the policy takes effect, so don’t wait until the storm warning appears.

Securing the Roof

High winds can cause your roofing structure to fail, if the sheathing is not properly installed. Roofs are designed to transfer the force of high winds down to the foundation. If the roof sheathing is not nailed into the rafters or trusses of your roofing structure, then it can fail to perform as designed. From the attic, examine the roofing boards for proper installation. When replacing your roof, make sure that the sheathing complies with the latest industry standards. Check for proper bracing of your roof’s gables, the upper portion of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.

From inside the attic space, you should see X-shaped supports in these areas. If these supports are not in place, be sure to hire a contractor to brace them properly. Hurricane straps, which are galvanized metal braces that keep the roof securely fastened to the walls of a home or building, are advised for properties in areas with a high hurricane risk. Installing braces should be left to a licensed professional.

Securing Windows and Doors

Your property’s windows and doors must be properly braced to withstand the high winds of hurricanes, because, if breached, the resulting high pressure can cause serious damage to your walls and roofing structure. Protect your property’s vulnerable openings with storm shutters. They can be purchased for exposed windows, skylights, doors and other glass surfaces. They are available in steel, wood or aluminum. Their protection benefit can be mimicked with plywood.

Also most bolts that come with your doors are not capable of withstanding the high winds associated with hurricanes. Reinforcing bolts to secure your doors to the top and bottom frame will ensure that your doors will be able to handle the storm.

Protecting Home Systems from Flooding

Your electrical system can be ravaged by flooding. To minimize and prevent damage to this vital system, make sure that the main electrical panel board and all electrical outlets and switches are located at least 12 inches above the flood elevation for your area. If not, consider elevating all wire and service lines 12 inches above the flood elevation, but be sure that all electrical wiring is done be a licensed electrician. Electrically run units, such as washers, dryers, furnaces and water heaters, should be moved to a higher level or elevated at least 12 inches above the flood elevation, if possible. A base of concrete or pressure treated lumber that can hold the weight may be used to elevate the units. Consider building a flood wall around these units, if they cannot be relocated.

To prevent floating and potential spills, anchor fuel tanks to the floor and be sure that vents and openings are above projected flood elevation. To protect your floor drain, install a float plug and a licensed plumber should put in a backflow valve to prevent sewage back up.

After the Storm

After a storm, walk your property’s exterior and make note of damage, including fallen tree limbs, debris and downed power lines. You should check for missing or damaged roof shingles, gutters and siding. If possible, take photos of the damage. They may be helpful in filing insurance claims and identifying for professionals areas of your property, that need to be restored. For additional information on what to do after a hurricane, storm, fire or other disaster damage your property, click here for our Emergency Restoration Checklist.

Contact us today to request service for Storm Damage, or any other restoration project. Call 1-888-217-0651, or click the button below to complete our online inquiry.


ACCORD Restoration Service
Serving MD, PA and DE

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