Homeowners should be prepared for storm damageMay 7, 2012
By Carley Dangona
GRANBY The June 1, 2011 tornado proved to the residents in the Pioneer Valley that weather anomalies could strike anyone, anywhere at any time.
According to SERVPRO of Hampshire County, homeowners should be prepared for even the most unprecedented weather, beginning with their understanding of the differences between a storm watch and a storm warning.
"Authorities issue a storm 'watch' when there is the potential for severe weather. A storm 'warning' means that the danger is imminent," Kevin Fall, owner of SERVPRO, said, noting that having a disaster plan in place can better prepare homeowners for such warnings.
"It's important to have a game plan for storms, such preparation is similar to practicing an escape route for a fire," he said.
"More times than not, people aren't sure what to do immediately following a disaster because they didn't make a plan beforehand," Fall said. "It's difficult to go back and recreate what they [homeowners] had, especially in a state of shock."
A primary step in disaster preparedness is documenting the contents of a home. "At minimal, homeowners should annually walk through the house with a video camera, going from room to room, documenting the contents of each by recording and verbally naming each item, its location and its value," Fall advised.
The key to the aforementioned step is to store the documentation away from the home so the recording will not be destroyed in the event of a disaster. "Keep the documentation in a safe deposit box, out of the house; do not store the video within the house but at another location," Fall said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers further tips for storm preparation on its website:
Before the storm hits
- Put a family communication plan in place and prepare an emergency supply kit, including a battery-powered National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Weather radio.
- Remove dead trees and branches that could fall on your property or home.
- Repair roof leaks, clear clogged gutters and fix broken or loose doors and windows.
- Postpone outdoor activities and secure outdoor objects that could become airborne.
- Seek shelter in a home, building or hard top automobile. The steel frame of a vehicle, not the rubber tires, can help protect you from a lightning strike if you avoid touching metal or other conductive surfaces.
- Close shutters, if available, and secure outside doors. Close window blinds, shades or curtains. Unplug electronic equipment, including appliances, air conditioners and computers.
For more information about SERVPRO, visit www.servpro.com
or contact Fall at 589-8975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.