Hail storms often strike without any warning, especially in Florida, which leaves you with little time to prepare or react. Knowing what to expect, and being ready in advance can help you stay safe and reduce the damage. Here are some tips that will help keep you, your family, your home and your business safer, during this storm season.
Before a Hail Storm
A good place to start prepping is with your local news and weather channel. Signing up for text and email alerts that send out warnings can be very helpful. It can be difficult to keep track of sporadic weather systems, and sometimes these storms seemingly come out of nowhere. Next comes putting together an emergency kit. It should include first aid supplies, new batteries, a battery powered radio and cellphone charger, a lighter or waterproof matches, important documents and the family’s medicines. Have all of these things in one place and make sure everyone knows where it is stored. Put away some gallon water jugs and non-perishables too, just to be on the safe side.
A storm can be less impactful if the lot around your house or business is maintained regularly. By keeping your gutters clean and regularly checking the condition of your property’s roof, damage can be minimized. Loose shingles, old antennas, or trash and debris buildup can lead to nightmares once a storm hits. Lastly, ensure that your family members and/or employees know how to find and turn off the water, power and gas supply main lines.
During a Hail Storm
If it’s safe, move your vehicle so it’s protected and tie down any outdoor furniture securely. Then get everyone inside–including pets–and close doors, blinds, shades and curtains. Large hail can easily break windows and having the curtains closed can help contain some of the broken glass. It certainly won’t stop all of it though, so it’s best to stay away from doors, windows or exterior walls for the duration of the storm.
Your safety, and that of your loved ones, and employees always comes first. Do not try to protect things on your property or objects in your home when the news or weather service says it’s unsafe to do so. If there is thunder and lightning, in addition to the hail just remember the 30-30 rule: Remain inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. After seeing lightning, go indoors if you cannot count to 30 before hearing more thunder. Having a battery powered or crank radio will help you stay apprised of the situation, which will in turn keep you and your family much safer during the storm.
After a Hail Storm
Continue listening to the news for updates on the weather condition and if there are more storms on the horizon. If it’s safe, turn off and unplug electrical items at the wall. There will potentially be moving and stagnant water, avoid walked through either, whenever possible. Depending on the severity of the storm there may be hazards all around you, so stay on the lookout for things like broken or leaking gas pipes, snapped electrical lines, damaged sewers, submerged appliances and structural damage.
A hailstorm can do serious damage very quickly, and there will most likely be a great deal of recovery and reconstruction that needs to happen. Call a restoration specialist in your area as soon as possible and start on the road to recovery.