Strong winds are one of the most destructive forces in nature, capable of destroying hundreds of miles of property with violent gusts that can exceed 100 mph. But it’s not just 100-mph winds or hurricane-like conditions that can cause damage – even gusts that are much less severe can knock out power or cause damage.
And unlike more confined types of property damage, such as a home fire, strong winds pose a serious threat because they can impact a larger area. If your home is damaged or destroyed by strong winds, chances are high that your neighbors, and nearby rescue and response units, are also suffering from the consequences of wind damage.
This means that it could take several days before you can begin to address and repair any damage. Follow these tips to prepare your home for strong winds and to take the right steps after the wind has subsided.
Long-Term Home Preparations for Strong Winds
If you live in an area that regularly encounters strong winds, you will want to modify your home and property to mitigate potential damage.
Maintain Trees and Branches
You can make your home safer by removing trees or branches that could easily fall on your home or vehicle. Large trees should be at least twenty feet from your home and you should hire a professional to trim any branches that hang over power lines.
Consider the Landscaping Material Around Your Home
Gravel and small rocks may enhance the aesthetic of your landscaping, but they can be picked up by strong winds and hurled toward your home. Gravel and small rocks traveling at 60 mph can easily shatter windows, destroy siding and damage any vehicles left outside. Instead of small stones, opt for mulch in your gardens, flagstones for your walkways and a cement or asphalt driveway.
Have the Right Windows and Doors
You may also consider investing in modifications to your home that help reduce damage from heavy winds, such as pressure-rated windows. You’ll want to choose window panes that are labeled DP40 or higher. These should be able to withstand wind gusts of up to 150 mph, meaning that they should survive a Category 4 hurricane. In addition, you may want to purchase storm shutters for your windows. These shutters often contain steel or aluminum and help to protect your windows from flying objects.
Any door that leads to outside should be secured with three hinges and a deadbolt to help anchor it to the frame. If you have double doors or French doors, you’ll want to secure them with sliding bolts that anchor into the top and the bottom of the doorframe. Also consider upgrading to a reinforced garage door. These are often made of steel and have reinforced struts that are only visible from the inside of your garage. From the outside, they look like any other garage door.
Create a Home Photo Inventory
It’s also a good idea to photograph or video your home and belongings before damage can occur. This will make it easier to file an insurance claim if something happens to your home or property.