High winds are usually associated with storms but there are times that the passing of a storm may cause for a windy day. It is important to know what to do and what not to do before, during, and after a wind event. Severe wind storms are dangerous and difficult to predict with some gusts coming with little or no warning, but if you follow a few simple safety tips you can greatly reduce the amount of damage a wind storm can cause. Gusting winds can bring down trees, power lines and signs and turn unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles.
After a high wind advisory or high wind warning is issued residents should take the following precautions:
Keep up-to-date on weather activity in your area is to monitor a battery powered (in case of power loss). These radios continually broadcast weather information pertaining to your specific area. If a NOAA Weather Radio is not available the weather can also easily be monitored through television, radio, or even cell phones. If there are thunderstorm warnings or if the sky looks ominous it is important to immediately check the weather. Responding quickly to warnings is the most important step in keeping people and property safe.
Remove any dead trees or overhanging branches near structures.
Secure any loose roofing, but be safe and have a qualified roofer do the work.
Trim dead branches and cut down dead trees to reduce the danger of these falling onto your house during a storm.
Clean gutters, drains and downpipes.
Make sure your roof is in good repair.
Prepare an emergency kit.
Bring Loose Items Indoors
If the forecast calls for high winds in your area it is important to gather loose objects and safely store them indoors. Objects left outside in wind storms can pose two dangers. They can either become projectiles and potentially injure people and property, or the objects themselves can be lost, damaged, or ruined. It is important to remember that nothing is more important than the safety of people so objects should only be brought indoors if it is safe to do so.
Secure Large Outdoor Objects
Some objects will simply be too big to safely bring indoors in the event of high winds, but even if they are too large to bring in they can still be affected by wind. Other objects to consider include signs, tables, chairs, large umbrellas, play structures, bicycles, motorcycles, watercraft, garbage cans, and much more. There are many ways to safely secure these objects including weights, ropes, chains, and stakes.
Close and Secure Doors and Windows
Closing windows and doors is a simple step that can be easily forgotten while everyone is securing objects, collecting their belongings, and heading indoors. Open windows can result in water damage or broken glass. If there are shutters it is important to close them. Also, close and secure doors since strong winds can easily rip them from hinges.
Here are a few safety tips for after the storm:
Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
If it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a damaged home.
If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.