As autumn’s increasingly unpredictable rains and storms give way to winter and its own wild weather, be sure to check again to make sure your home is properly protected.

If a particularly heavy storm hits, you could lose outdoor furnishings or see parts of your house damaged by the weather or falling trees or branches. Additionally, you could lose power for minutes, hours, or in some cases days if the electrical grid is damaged badly enough.

Here are steps you can take to reduce the chances of severe damage and keep you going should your home sustain serious damage.

  1. Put away or tie down all loose outdoor items. If a storm is making its way to your area, you can stow all unattached items from your yard. Use rope or bungee cords to tie down large furniture. Storm winds can launch loose items through your windows or into your neighbors’ homes, so secure those items in a shed or protected area.
  2. Trim your trees. While falling branches can damage your home, a tree that falls onto your house can not only damage the structure but also kill or injure anyone in the home. Typically, it’s sick trees that have lost their root support that will topple. Check your trees to make sure they look healthy; look for bare branches at the top, which may be a sign the tree is in poor shape. Check near the base to see if you have roots that are sprawled out on one side of the tree, which could be a sign your tree will eventually fall over. To identify limbs that have the potential to snap, inspect the branches to see if there are cracks where they attach to the trunk. Remove any branches that are touching or close to touching your roof or siding. Finally, make sure to remove any debris you’ve cut to ensure it does not go airborne during a storm.
  3. Stormproof windows or shutters. There are two options for protecting windows: install stormproof windows or storm shutters. The latter are a necessity if you live in an area that is especially prone to big storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Stormproof windows are typically made from impact-resistant glass surrounded by a heavy-duty frame that is securely fastened to the interior window header and frame.

Other things to consider:

  1. Invest in a gas generator, which can provide power in case power lines go down.
  2. Inspect your rain gutters, and make sure they are secure against the house and free of debris.
  3. Keep an emergency kit on hand with a battery-operated radio, batteries, flashlights, and a landline phone that isn’t cordless.
  4. Check your insurance and make sure you have the proper amount of coverage. Make sure to mention any recent upgrades to your home that may increase rebuilding costs after a major incident.

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