How to prepare for a storm: 8 essential tips and safety measures

Storms can be unpredictable and powerful, and they are bound to increasingly impact our lives as we experience the effects of climate change.
Strong winds are often accompanied by thunderstorms, snowstorms, or hail, all of which can cause significant damage to homes and properties.

Powerful storms can cause significant damage to homes and properties. Learn how to protect yourself and your belongings from storm damages.

With this article, we aim to help you prepare for extreme weather and mitigate storm damage risks. If a storm is coming, don’t fret – simply follow these 8 safety measures to protect yourself and your belongings.

1. Follow the latest information

Knowledge is key in critical situations, so stay updated on weather forecasts and warnings from reliable sources. Use weather apps or listen to local news channels for updates.

Before the storm strikes, you can leave the radio or TV on to get the latest information about where the storm moves and how heavy it is. During the storm, it’s safer to unplug all electronics and use battery-powered devices like your phone or portable radio.

Understand the different types of storms prevalent in your area, such as snowstorms, hail, and thunderstorms with flood risks, and learn about their characteristics and potential impact.  

2. Stay indoors if possible

As much as we don’t like changing our plans due to weather, storm warnings are the occasion to do just that. During storms, you should stay inside and go outdoors only if it’s absolutely necessary. Broken trees, torn-down billboards, and parts of buildings can endanger the lives of passersby.

During the storm, your windows should be closed, and you shouldn’t stand close to them. Large hail, broken branches, and objects carried by the wind can break the glass.

Don't forget about fire safety. If the storm has caused power outages, use a torch to move around the house. Do not leave a burning candle unattended.

3. Charge your phone and other devices

Before the storm, ensure your phone is charged, as you might need it to contact your family or emergency services.

In extreme weather, electricity often goes out, so it’s wise to fully charge your electrical devices as you’re preparing for a storm. Check if your torch and other small electronics have working batteries.

Most importantly, ensure your phone is charged, as you might need it to contact your family or emergency services.

4. Clear your balcony or terrace

If you live in an apartment building and have a balcony, remove or firmly secure items that could be blown away by the wind, endangering the health and lives of passers-by.

If you live in a house, clear your backyard or terrace of items that could be blown away or damaged. Tie down and secure all lighter items that you cannot bring indoors, for example, garden equipment, large toys, trampoline, etc. If you see something that could be damaged by heavy rain or hail, cover it with plastic sheeting.  

5. Prepare your house

A day or two before the storm, it’s advisable to trim trees and remove dead branches to prevent them from falling onto your property during high winds. In addition, you should inspect your roof for any loose or damaged shingles and repair them. Reinforce the roof if necessary to withstand strong winds.

As the storm approaches, move outdoor furniture inside, unplug electronics, and cover windows if the upcoming storm is bound to be very strong and produce hail.

During the storm, stay away from electrical wiring, aerials, windows, doors, water taps and radiators, and other metal objects.  

6. Safely park your car

If possible, park your car in a parking garage before the storm to protect it from storm damage

If you need to park your car and don’t have a garage or access to underground parking, choose a place that’s not under or near trees or power lines. Avoid parking in low-lying areas – try to move your car to higher ground.

A good idea is to park your car tight against the house to provide some deflection of wind away from your car. A tight-fitting car cover may also provide some protection.

Unfortunately, not all of us have parking garages or shelters to park our cars 100% safely during extreme wind and hail. To remove the stress of a storm’s financial consequences, ensure your vehicle has CASCO insurance.

7. Be extremely careful outdoors

We already mentioned that the safest place to weather the storm is your home. But if you do happen to be outside, follow these tips to stay safe in heavy winds:

  • Avoid moving or staying under trees, billboards, and scaffolding, and don’t cross bridges;
  • Don’t use an umbrella as it will reduce visibility, intensify wind gusts, and may injure other passers-by;
  • Don’t stay near metal fences or lightning conductors;
  • If you’re riding a bicycle, motorcycle, or scooter, dismount it and put it at a distance;
  • It’s strictly forbidden to be on piers during storms as wind produces high waves that can knock you down;
  • Do not boat, swim, or fish during thunderstorms.

8. Have an emergency plan in place

Develop an emergency plan and practice it with your family. This plan should include actions that should (and shouldn’t) be taken during a storm, evacuation routes, emergency contacts, designated safe areas within your home, etc. Ensure everyone understands the plan and knows what to do in case of a storm.

Prepare an emergency kit with essential items such as non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, a first-aid kit, necessary medications, and important documents.

If authorities recommend evacuation, follow the instructions promptly. Pack necessary belongings, turn off utilities, and secure your property before leaving.

Weather storms with greater resilience

Due to climate change, storms are becoming more frequent and stronger each year, causing more harm. Preparing for a storm involves a series of critical steps that can significantly reduce risks and safeguard both property and lives. Each measure is crucial in mitigating potential damages, from staying informed and indoors to securing your belongings and having an emergency plan.

For If clients, submitting a claim after unexpected situations is quick and convenient through the  If self-service portal or the If Mobile Baltics app.  

See also: