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Be prepared for destructive summer storms
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Be prepared for destructive summer storms

Hurricanes dominate headlines more often during the summer and fall than thunderstorms and lightning. But the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety cautions homeowners not to underestimate the destructive and deadly force of summer storms.

Thunderstorms occur more often and have a direct impact on more people and homes in the United States than hurricanes. And, according to the National Weather Service, every thunderstorm produces lightning. IBHS says a whole-house or -building surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of lightning damage, along with localized surge protectors for power cords of electronic equipment and any telephone and cable or satellite television lines.

Prepare your surroundings to reduce damage

  • Trim trees and shrubbery away from structures, and remove any weakened sections of trees.
  • Replace gravel or rock landscaping materials with softer material such as mulch.
  • If a storm is imminent, limit sources of windborne debris by securing or removing lawn furniture, planters, bird feeders and decorative objects.

Protect your home’s openings

  • If your garage door doesn’t have a pressure rating sticker, have it evaluated and, if necessary, have a bracing system installed to prevent wind from blowing in the door.
  • Seal openings, cracks and holes on the outside of your home against wind-driven water. Fill holes where wires, cables and pipes enter and exit the home, and seal around electrical boxes and circuit breaker panels. Seal cracks around wall outlets, dryer vents, bathroom and kitchen vents and wall lights.

Strengthen your roof

  • Make sure the roof sheathing is strongly fastened to the roof frame.
  • Seal the roof deck to minimize water getting into your attic if the roof cover is blown off.
  • Re-attach loose shingles with roofing cement.
  • If you have vinyl or aluminum soffit covers, strengthen their attachment to the walls and fascia.
  • Create a continuous load path in your home, which means tying the roof to the walls and the walls to the foundation using metal connectors such as hurricane straps, clips or ties.

For more information on thunderstorm protection, visit disastersafety.org/thunderstorms.

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