The recent outbreak of tornadoes in the southern states is a solemn reminder of the danger of severe weather, especially during the spring months. For those of us living in southern Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana our own warmer weather conditions, while pleasant, also increases our chances of experiencing unpredictable and dangerous weather including thunderstorms, tornadoes, hailstorms, and high winds, which can damage property and potentially cause injuries.
What if we do experience severe weather conditions? The best thing you can do is be prepared in advance of any such weather event. To help you avoid the negative effects of severe weather, we’ve compiled the following checklist you can use to keep your home, your business, and your family safe from dangerous weather.
1. Register to receive local weather alerts. If you are out and about, text message and email alerts that you receive on your smartphone can provide immediate weather updates so you can keep track of impending storms and seek shelter if necessary. You can register for free updates from the National Weather Service and from your local emergency departments using a service such as Nixle.com.
If you are a business owner, you owe it to yourself and your employees to make sure that you monitor the weather when there is the potential of strong storms. In addition to registering for the alert mentioned above, you can invest in a NOAA Tone Alert Weather Radio which is a special device that broadcasts the National Weather Service local updates
and can keep you apprised of changing weather conditions even if you lose power. It is also a good idea to designate at least one person in your business to monitor the weather when adverse conditions are expected.
2. Take care of needed repairs. An important, but often overlooked, way to protect your home or business facility from storm damage is to make sure that you keep on top of needed repairs and maintenance, particularly those involving your roof, gutters, heating, air vents and ducts, and air conditioning. Having a qualified general construction contractor inspect these areas for damage or blockages is often money well spent, especially when you consider the damage and water back-up that could occur if these items are neglected.
3. Review your insurance policies. Knowing that you have your assets appropriately protected will provide you with invaluable peace of mind when severe weather is on the horizon. Taking time now to inventory your personal and business assets and to make sure that your coverage is sufficient to protect them can save you from potential financial losses from storm damage. In addition, ensuring that the coverage details, addresses, and contact information are current on your policies will save you time and prevent any unexpected expenses in the event that you do suffer damage to your home or business during a storm.
4. Evaluate your need for flood insurance. If you live in a flood-prone area, you may wish to consider flood insurance since damage caused by flooding is not covered in a standard homeowner’s or business insurance policy. These policies are monitored by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Flood coverage is available for any building located in a community that has qualified for the NFIP. Buildings do not have to be located in a floodplain to be eligible for flood insurance.
5. Create an emergency plan. If you have to leave your home, or you’re forced to stay at your place of business, due to an emergency weather situation would you be prepared? Emergency preparedness experts advise having a “Go Bag” of the items that you would need for these types of situations. If you have a business to run, you should also have a contingency plan for the continuation of vital operations in case power is knocked out or your business sustains serious damage. In addition, share your emergency communication plan with your family members and employees so you can communicate with each other during a weather emergency. We will cover in detail the recommended items and emergency communications plans in our next blog post.
While no one wants to experience a dangerous weather event, the likelihood tends to be higher during the spring months in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. If you do find yourself facing an extreme weather situation, remember to put the safety of people first—your property can always be replaced.
If you have any questions about the above checklist, or how to protect your personal or business assets against dangerous spring storms or other severe weather, please contact us.