Tips Tuesday: Severe Weather Safety

Residents and business owners who are repairing or rebuilding in the wake of recent severe storms and tornadoes face many choices and opportunities as they put the pieces of their homes, businesses and lives back together. With tornado season and storm season underway, FEMA urges residents to be prepared. Check out FEMA's tips to staying proactive when severe weather threatens your area.

Federal mitigation experts offer several suggestions for measures to take to potentially reduce the risk of losses in future disasters:

  •  Roofs - Roofs are extremely susceptible to wind damage. When the roof lifts off it may collapse back down on the house. In both new construction and retrofitting, people should build to ensure the connections between the roof and walls are strong enough to resist the uplift effect of high winds.
  • Garage Doors - High winds can severely damage a weak garage door, creating wind pressure that lifts the garage roof.  If it's hinged to the house, the garage roof can pull off part of the house or put pressure on the house roof, which then may lift off.  Retrofitting older garage doors helps increase a home's storm resistance, while new reinforced garage doors help to protect your garage and its contents.
  • Shutters and Doors - High winds and windborne debris can easily break unprotected windows and cause doors to fail.  The most reliable method of protecting windows and doors is installing permanent storm shutters. Alternatives include temporary plywood covers, mesh or screen systems and impact-resistant windows and doors.
  • Foundations - Many homes are built on concrete pads to which they are only slightly connected. Severe winds pull the walls right out of the foundation. To resist high winds, structures must be firmly connected to foundations. Bolts set deep into concrete foundations and topped with a washer and nut should be used to secure the structure to the foundation.
  • Personal Safety - A safe room provides protection. It is designed to withstand extreme winds, with steel-reinforced concrete or steel sheathing to make the walls and ceiling virtually puncture-proof.  It's also a good idea to keep an emergency kit in the safe room.