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Wind damaged roof shingles (C) Daniel Friedman Wind Damage Inspection, Repair, Prevention
Guides for entering, inspecting & repairing buildings damaged by windstorms

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Building wind damage assessment & damage repair or restoration procedures.

This article series provides residential & light construction building wind damage assessment procedures for buildings following disasters such as from a hurricane, cyclone, tornado, or other wind damage. We discuss safe building entry procedures, setting the priority for repairs, and we give more detailed building inspection advice for building structures such as foundations & framing, and inspection and restoration of building mechanical systems.



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Windstorm or Tornado Damage Prevention Advice for Homeowners

Windstorm caused Tree damaged home (C) Daniel FriedmanVery basic advice and some simple steps can substantially reduce wind damage to a building includes recommendations to trim back, cable-tie, or remove trees close to the building and have an arborist (tree specialist) inspect the health of large trees near the building.

Because nearby trees that are not on your property can still be tall enough to smash into your home, if appropriate ask neighbors to trim back large trees that threaten your building.

We have had success in this step by offering to share the cost of tree trimming with affected neighbors: just point out that depending on wind direction the tree may fall on their home as well.

Our photo (left) shows significant damage to a home struck by a wind-blown tree.

Below we have adapted and expanded on tornado & windstorm safety advice offered by USAA [31],FLASH®, and other sources.

Tornado & Windstorm Safety Steps to Take Before the Storm: Protection from Wind Damage

Wind damaged siding, Maple Shade New Jersey (C) Daniel FriedmanBuild or find a safe place to wait out a tornado.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) recommends having a safe room or storm shelter professionally built [32] but in our estimate most homes do not have a specially-constructed storm shelter.

But you may be able to reinforce a basement area or a closet or storage room to serve that purpose.

Our photo (left) illustrates wind-damaged siding in Maple Shade, New Jersey.

Cell phone safety: a cell phone can be a lifeline in an emergency and can also be used to get a head start on filing an insurance claim after a tornado or other disaster.

Contacting your insurance company quickly may be especially important following a tornado, hurricane, flood or other disaster that affects a wide area and many homes.

Make sure that your cell phone is fully charged.

Keep a car-adapter charger on-hand for additional cell phone charging; small battery pack cell phone chargers are also helpful in the short run but generally won't give multiple re-charges.

Evacuate? If you have to evacuate your home in an emergency, always put personal safety of everyone absolutely first. If time and safety permit we recommend turning off all utilities: electricity (all breakers), fuel supply lines, water supply lines. But if conditions are too dangerous to delay, don't hesitate.

Insurance coverage may not include some types of wind damage. Check with your insurance company before a storm occurs. USAA points out that trying to increase wind or tornado damage insurance coverage after a tornado has occured won't work.

After a tornado ... most insurance companies ... stop issuing new policies or won't allow coverage increases — or both. Contact your insurance carrier now to make sure you have what you need to recover, including wind and flood insurance coverage should your home be damaged by a storm. [31]

Plan for the emergency: discuss with other residents or family members in your home questions such as where you will go in an emergency, how you will get out of risky areas (such as upper floors in a home).

Tree fall smashes home (C) Daniel FriedmanReduce wind-vulnerable hazards around the home. This includes removing or securing loose items outdoors (funiture, garden tools, for example) as well as securing or removing loose items on the home (shutters, antennas, storm doors) and inspecting and if appropraite trimming trees around the home.

FLASH® provides a free wind damage inspection / prevention checklist.

While we don't want to allow someone to run amok with the chain saw, if there are large trees close enough to fall onto your home - as our photo at left illustrates in Hyde Park, NY.

Ask a tree expert to give you advice about the trees' health, need for trimming, and risk of fall or collapse in a windstorm, hurricane, or tornado. It may make sense to trim back, top or in some cases remove dangerous trees that threaten buildings.

Supplies: prepare your disaster kit to be sure you have on hand emegency supplies such as water, candles, matches, flashlights, first aid kits and the cellphone that we discussed above. Some homeowners prepare their emergency kit in a roll-along carry-on type travel bag to make quick movement easy.

Tornado & Windstorm Safety Steps to Take After the Storm

Don't re-enter a building that may be unsafe due to collapse hazards, fire hazards, electrical shock hazards, or LP or natural gas leaks.

BUILDING ENTRY for DAMAGE ASSESSMENT includes safety suggestions that pertain to wind, tornado, earthquake and other disasters as well. There we discuss how to enter a building safely and how to determine if it is safe to turn utilities back on.

References for Prevention of Damage to Homes by Wind & Windstorms

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Continue reading at ROOF DAMAGE, WIND or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see FLOOD DAMAGE REPAIR PRIORITIES

Or see HURRICANE DAMAGED BUILDINGS

Or see HURRICANE, WIND, & STORM-RESISTANT WINDOWS

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