Strong storms with damaging winds, heavy rains and dangerous lightning have impacted Atlanta residents already this season. We have heard of dozens of home fires and injuries as a result of lightning strikes, varying from minimal damage to full-blown property destruction. While many enjoy a good thunderstorm, there are also those that get major anxiety at the first bolt of lightning or rumble of thunder. No matter which type you are, here are some measures that can be taken to reduce likelihood of injury and protect your home and valuables from the dangers of lightning and storms.
Before the Storm:
There are a few ways that you can prepare your home for the heavy rains and winds that accompany a storm.
- Check to make sure that the tiles or shingles on your roof are secure, and that none are missing.
- Secure all loose items and debris from the yard, such as lightweight patio furniture, children’s toys, anything that could be tossed around by gusty winds.
- Keep trees and shrubs properly trimmed so that loose limbs will not become a projectile during the storm.
- If possible, move all vehicles into a garage to prevent damage from hail or projectiles.
- Make sure that smoke detectors are working and have fresh batteries. Lightning can ignite a fire in your home, and smoke detectors can give the first warning sign.
Avoid Injury and Damage from Lightning:
Often times we are alerted that a severe storm is coming, so take cover before the storm arrives. If you do get stuck outside, try to take cover in a car (but avoid touching any exposed metal). Avoid areas with water like pools or lakes, and open spaces like golf courses or big, open fields. Also try and avoid being near metal objects like telephone or other electrical poles.
If you are able to take cover indoors, avoid showering or bathing during the storm. Also consider unplugging appliances or electrical devices like expensive electronics, TV’s or computers to help to protect them from electrical surges. Lightning doesn’t have to actually strike your home to cause damage. If lightning hits your neighbors home or nearby power lines in can travel into your house through wiring and cause property damage. A direct strike to your home could rip through your roof or chimney, igniting a fire.
Avoid Injury and Damage from Tornados and Wind:
About 1,000 tornadoes occur each year in the U.S., causing an average of $1.1 billion in property damage and 80 deaths (allstate.com). Most are relatively weak and the primary damage is to roofs, windows and trees. Before a storm even occurs, you should have a plan of action. Know what area of your home you and your family can go to to ride out the storm. The best place would be a basement or small interior room of the house that ideally has no windows. Have an emergency kit assembled and ready in this area of the house.
Most often a thunderstorm won’t cause too much damage or trouble for a homeowner, but it is always best to be prepared. With just a little time and a plan of action for more severe weather, you know you have done your best to protect your home and family.
We are Atlanta’s premier water and fire restoration experts specializing in water damage, water restoration, water extraction, fire damage, smoke damage, mold remediation and more. Serving metro Atlanta and surrounding cities since 1998. For more home improvement and safety tips follow us on Twitter: @premierdrying, Facebook or Google+.