Spring and summer storms can wreak havoc on property. Damage can be instant or cumulative; if initial damage is not addressed promptly it can often worsen as time goes by. Taking some preventive steps at home can reduce the chances of serious damage to homes and lives.
Before the storm
Check outside for loose items that may be blown away or collide with the home. Outdoor furniture, grills, toys, birdbaths and the like should be put away. Large objects such as sheds and play sets should be secured and anchored to prevent them from falling or blowing over.
Inspect fencing for any loose or damaged boards that may damage nearby structures if they are carried by the wind. If there isn't time to make repairs before the storm hits, remove the damaged pieces to prevent possible damage.
Trees around the home or near other structures, including near neighbors' houses, should be inspected by a licensed professional to ensure that they are healthy. Trees can appear to be in good shape but may be diseased or have structural problems that can cause them to fail unexpectedly. Local ordinances may require that trees be trimmed a minimum distance from driveways, structures and power lines. For safety's sake, a qualified professional should perform this work.
Using binoculars, check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Flying shingles may damage structures, while missing shingles can allow water to leak into the home, causing additional problems. Any repairs to roofing should be done professionally to ensure proper repair techniques and safety.
After the storm
Check in on neighbours, particularly those who are elderly or who live alone, to make sure they and their property made it safely through the storm.
Look around for downed or sagging power lines and report them immediately to the utility company. Power lines should never be approached or touched, as even the ground around a downed line can carry an electrical charge.
Check around the property for downed branches or other damage to trees and structures. Any debris that may have blown into the yard should be removed promptly, as it can attract damaging insects. This is also a good time to re-inspect the roof for storm damage; any repairs should be made as soon as possible to prevent further problems.
If there was significant wind during the storm, chimneys and flue caps should be professionally inspected to ensure they were not damaged and are functioning normally. Check garage doors to make sure they are still on their tracks for safe operation.