The frequency and severity of winter storms in Ireland is increasing. The causes are much debated but the impact of winter storms is felt by everyone.
Whether you own or rent your home, there are things you can do during periods of fine weather to prepare for a winter storm. Most are inexpensive but invaluable should you be stuck inside for a day or two with no power and a storm raging outside.
Here are 10 things you should do to prepare your home for winter storms:
If your barbeque and outdoor seating is in the garden since the balmy summer evenings, now is the time to secure or move it. Ideally move furniture into your garden shed, if you have one, or secure it in the most sheltered part of your garden. The same applies for bins, children’s toys and any other items that might move or be damaged in high winds.
Your home’s gutters are very important when it comes to protecting it from water damage. Gutters prevent rain water from building up on the roof and surrounds of your property. If they are blocked with leaves and other debris, it can lead to problems with rot on your roof. Have your gutters cleaned every spring and autumn (more often if your property is surrounded by trees). It is something you can do yourself if you feel comfortable working at a height and you have someone to hold the ladder securely.
Otherwise you are best off calling in the professionals.
Tips: Discover a helpful Seasonal Safety Tips Infographic
Check your roof once a year or after a significant weather event, for damaged tiles. A visual inspection from the ground is a good way to start. If you notice anything, contact
a roofing specialist for a professional assessment and to complete any repairs.
If you are in an area likely to be flooded, listen to local weather forecasts and take any recommended action. This may include evacuating if flooding is going to be severe.
It is always a good idea to have plenty of fuel in advance of bad weather, whether that means a fill of oil, fire logs or wood for a stove. If you rely on electricity for heat, prepare for an outage by stocking up on blankets and duvets to stay warm. Ideally have a method of heating water (like the camp stove mentioned below) which can be used for hot drinks, soup and hot water bottles to stay warm. Make sure you have a torch and plenty of batteries. Candles are also a good option but they require careful monitoring.
Never leave candles unattended.
If you or anyone in your household takes medication regularly, make sure you have enough to get you through a winter storm. Ideally have a week’s supply. The Beast from the East, in 2018, kept many people housebound for almost that long. If you, or a loved one, depend on medical equipment that relies on electricity, speak to the hospital about the steps needed in the event of an outage.
By their nature, winter storms are unpredictable. If a storm is bad enough to warrant a status red weather warning, the advice is to stay indoors. Have a stock of nonperishable food to eat like:
If you rely on electricity to cook, it might be wise to invest in a gas-powered camping stove to cook during bad weather. Be careful using a camping stove indoors, ensure the area is well ventilated and that the stove is completely turned off after use.
Remember to check in on your neighbours, particularly if they are older. Ensure their home is warm enough and they have enough food to last a few days.
Finally, if you have pets who usually live outdoors or in the garage, consider bringing them inside for the duration of the winter storm, particularly if temperatures drop below 0 or there is a lot of rain forecast.
If you follow these steps you and your home should be as prepared as possible for what is coming this winter. When it comes to protecting your home and the things you love get a home insurance quote from AIG.