Storms can cause serious damage to your property, but you can minimise the risks by ensuring you and your family are fully prepared.
Assess your property
It's important to inspect your property thoroughly. If you're elderly or infirm, ask a friend or relative to help.
- Check your roof for cracked or loose tiles and try to replace any damaged ones before the storm hits. Damaged tiles could fall off or suffer further damage during a storm, which could cause a leak.
- Inspect your guttering and remove any debris so that rain can flow into the drainage system unimpeded.
- Trim/cut branches of any trees to make them more wind resistant. Trim hedges and bushes for the same reason.
- If your council has been distributing sandbags, use them to protect your property from flooding.
- Flood risk: If there's a chance of flooding, move as many of your belongings as possible upstairs or off the ground.
- Lock all doors and windows. These are likely to be locked anyway, but this precaution will mean they don't get blown open by the wind.
Ensure any maintenance issues are dealt with in advance, since your insurer may refuse to pay out on a claim if your property is not kept in good order.
If you rent, ensure your landlord is aware of any maintenance issues that could leave your property vulnerable.
Preparations inside your home
In case of a blackout, make sure you have torches at the ready, as well as radios (battery or wind-up) so you can stay up to date with weather information.
Make sure you have all the food you need before the storm hits.
You should not leave your property during the storm, so ensure you have everything you need with you - and accomplish important tasks/visits (for example, collecting medicine) before the weather turns.
Immediately before the storm arrives
* Take in your rubbish bins.
* Remove any vulnerable garden furniture, children's toys, or any item that could get swept away in the wind, or cause damage to your property.
* Ensure your garage door is shut securely. Strong winds can cause serious damage to them when left open.
Post storm clean-up
There's likely to be some clean up required after the storm passes - such as dealing with toppled fences, broken plant pots, or flooding.
Take care when assessing any damage, particularly if walls and outdoor lights are affected - exposed wires do not mix well with rainfall. Take care when dealing with any heavy items - such as fences or fallen branches.
Ensure you have your insurer's contact details to hand.