“I wish we had just a little more wind!” – said no one in Saskatchewan, ever. One thing about living in the prairies is that wind is inevitable. You can’t run from it, change it,redirect it or hide from it. However, due to the improved construction in today’s world, we are able to protect ourselves a lot better.
In many states down south, they have bunkers dug into the ground to protect themselves from tornadoes and other windstorms. We have basements in our houses that help protect us as well. Make sure you get yourself under the stairs and away from the windows if a tornado ever strikes near your home.
Lightning can also cause a fair amount damage, when lightning strikes from cloud to ground, it passes approximately, 1 billion (1,000,000,000) joules of energy. If that strikes your home, A nearby tree or power line, the damage can start to pile up.
So how can you protect yourself and your belongings from these types of natural disasters?
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from such events:
- Installing hurricane straps to your trusses to protect your roof from blowing off the walls in extreme winds.
- Installing a lightning rod to your house to protect yourself from a lightning strike/surge which would fry your appliances.
- Have an electrician install some surge protection on your electrical panel to protect potential surges from hitting your appliances. (These have a limit on how many cycles/charges it can take.)
- Check your roof to make sure you aren’t missing any shingles or any damage is present before the storm, and make sure you fix the roof after the storm to prevent further damage. Shingles/Roofing Material have a rating based on the size/severity of the wind/hail/storm damage it can take.
- Install exterior siding on your house that can withstand this type of storm. Vinyl siding is fairly easy to blow off or get damaged by hail. However, hardiboard, stucco, brick or stone can withstand much more. There are all kinds of new and improved construction material available now, talk to a contractor or your local hardware store to find out what’s available.
What if I don’t have time to do those things and a storm is approaching,are there some things to do beforehand to prepare?
Some of the above things take a lot of money to do, or installing them on a finished home is hard to do. So you can’t always install those items, here are some quick tips on what to do when a storm is enroute.
- Secure the Perimeter – Fasten down any loose equipment, move items indoors, remove any large trees or limbs that could damage any of your buildings or vehicles during a storm.
- Fuel up – Make sure you have generators, equipment, fireplaces all fueled up with wood, gas and propane in case there is a long lasting power outage. Especially in the Saskatchewan Winter.
- Protect the glass – you can purchase windstorm shutters, that are pre-fitted. These will help with preventing broken windows.
- Backup/disconnect electronics – power surges can occur during storms make sure you have surge protectors installed or your electronics are disconnected.
- Flood prevention – with most storms, comes a lot of rain. Make sure you have proper drainage, sump pumps, extended eavestroughs and remove any valuables off the floor in case this can’t keep up with the water.
- Chemicals / Gas – Make sure any harmful chemicals or gas lines are disconnected in case of a breakage or some reaction that can occur during a storm.
- Having a Plan – One of the biggest items on the list, is being ready and having a plan to carry out all these items above.
- Understanding your Insurance Policy – Whether it’s for your business, farm, home or vehicles; make sure you understand the coverage you have beforehand. These policies are designed to protect you, but there are many different packages, deductibles and endorsements, and it is important to know what you have covered in the even that something terrible happens.
As always, we want you to enjoy this summer to the full potential. Protect yourself from the elements we cannot control; and to be as safe and prepared as possible. Have a great summer!
*Photo credit goes out to local photographers in Saskatchewan who posted publicly on Twitter. Thank you! 🙂