We all know that the weather can change on a dime. How can you plan your weekend when the forecast says no rain and then there’s a sudden downpour?!
Unfortunately, when it comes to weather predictability, there are more serious factors to consider. Canada is seeing an increase in heavy storms which can include high winds, heavy rain, lightning, flash flooding, hail, and even tornadoes.1 While we can’t stop a tornado in its path or predict when a flash flood may occur, there are some pro-active steps you can take to keep your property, your home, and your family safe.
Do a gut(ter) check
Gutters are great – when they work. However, gutters can easily (and quickly!) fill up with leaves, dirt and debris, leading to clogs. When the water has nowhere to go, it spills over your gutters close to your home and can cause foundational issues as well as basement flooding. That’s why it’s important to have your gutters cleaned out frequently. A good rule of thumb is to have them cleaned every season. If there are trees close to your home, you will probably want to increase your cleaning frequency as tree leaves and needles can pile up in no time.
Look out for lightning
Thunder may seem scary, but its predecessor lighting is what you should really be prepared for. Lightning strikes can cause power surges which are a sudden increase in voltage that can damage and even destroy your valuable electronics.
Although most surge protection power bars are great for protecting your computers, televisions and entertainment systems against smaller sudden electrical surges, they can’t block direct lightning hits. Some higher-end options can actually monitor weather conditions and will shut down the power supply if lightning is in the forecast. However, the safest (and most inexpensive) option is to unplug electronics before a storm starts.
Another way to prepare your home for lightning storms is by installing a fire alarm in your attic and garage (if you haven’t already). These alarms can help alert you if a fire starts due to a lightning strike, which you otherwise wouldn’t be able to immediately see or smell.
No electricity?! Now what?
It’s hard to imagine our lives without electricity. When a storm knocks out power, everything from the internet, to our hair dryers become useless. Here are a few helpful ways to prepare before the power goes out.
- Create a family emergency kit, complete with water, candles, a battery powered radio, and non-perishable food items
- Make sure your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have batteries and are working properly
- Consider investing in a home generator
- If you take medication that needs to be refrigerated, find out how long it can be stored at a higher temperature or talk to your doctor about how to plan for a power outage
Make sure you’re insured
Home insurance may not be required by law, but it is a great idea to protect what is probably your most valuable asset. Insurance companies offer a range of home policy options, many of which include coverage for storm damage. At Johnson Insurance, our Homeowners Comprehensive Policy includes emergency evacuation coverage2 and our Enhanced Water Coverage3 which covers fresh water flooding is available as a policy add-on.
While we may not know when the next storm will hit, being prepared can help us all alleviate some if the stress when the weather changes.
2 Home policies primarily underwritten by Unifund Assurance Company (“Unifund”). Described coverage and benefits applicable only to policies underwritten by Unifund. Home insurance not available in NU or QC. Eligibility requirements, limitations, exclusions or additional costs may apply, and/or may vary by province or territory. Policy wording prevails.
3 Enhanced water coverage is not available in SK, NWT and Yukon.