Published : 30 September 2015
There's a fair few storms around at the moment so it's probably a good time to make sure your home and garden is ready for the worst! While the severity can vary according to where you live, you can usually guarantee strong winds and rain and that's often what does the most damage.
It's probably worth doing a thorough inspection of your home, garage and sheds, ensuring that things like windows, doors, shutters and awnings are secure. If they're loose, now is the time to fix them.
That also goes for your roof, of course! Loose roof tiles or sheets of metal can easily be ripped off in strong winds, which will not only allow rain to get in but could potentially cause a lot of damage to your property.
Time to fix and clean your gutters
Next give your gutters a check. Are they securely attached? Are they in good condition, or are they rusty and rotting? Make sure that your gutters are clear of leaves and debris so that rainwater can flow freely. Over-flowing gutters can lead to flooding or moisture problems inside the home.
The same goes for your drains, of course. Blocked drains are useless when flash flooding occurs and, if the water can't get away quickly, you're going to end up with wet feet for sure!
Check around doors and windows for gaps. Major structural problems may need to be fixed by a builder, but small gaps can be quickly fixed with a few tubes of silicon sealant.
Now it's time to check the garden. Overgrown trees and loose branches should be trimmed back, especially any that are overhanging your home or where you park your car.
Garden furniture, sun-shades, BBQs and children's outdoor toys should all be safely stowed in the garage or basement. They can take flight easily in high winds, smashing windows and glass doors.
Beware of flying missile
Other items to take down until the threat has passed are things like hanging plant baskets and wind chimes. This will not only keep your precious items safe, but will also reduce the number of potential missiles floating around outside.
With your home and garden prepared, it's time to protect your loved ones - and that includes your pets. Livestock should be shut inside stables and barns, while dogs and cats should be brought indoors.
Animals can become extremely distressed during storms, especially dogs and cats. A smaller space like a laundry is a good place to put them. And make sure they can't get outside and run away. In extreme cases your vet can give you a sedative for your pet.
And remember, when the storm has passed, if you spot any fallen power lines, don't touch them! Call your local power supplier.