Updated Thunderstorm Ready guide offers homeowners actionable steps to prepare for spring storms
Connie Bryant Breedlove
Senior Director of Communications
Public Affairs Manager
RICHBURG, S.C., January 27, 2021 – The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is encouraging homeowners to act now to Be Thunderstorm Ready by preparing their homes ahead of spring severe weather to reduce the risk of damage. To help, the non-profit has updated its flagship Thunderstorm Ready guide, bringing in new projects based on the latest scientific testing conducted at its state-of-the-art Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina.
The past year has highlighted the importance of home, further emphasizing why it is so important to prepare for uncertainties – like severe weather – and to implement simple solutions to ensure a home can perform better in powerful storms. The updated guide offers homeowners simple home improvement projects at an array of price points, including low and no cost ideas, to prepare and protect against high winds, heavy rain and hail.
“Contrary to popular belief, homeowners are not powerless against severe weather. In fact, even small actions can help reduce property damage. Our Thunderstorm Ready guide can help homeowners get started,” said Anne Cope, Ph.D., P.E. and Chief Engineer at IBHS. “Coupling simple home improvements with ongoing home maintenance gives families the best protection from spring severe weather events, which wreak havoc on communities year after year.”
Whether a homeowner is building a new home, remodeling, or taking on a weekend project, Thunderstorm Ready brings a decade of full-scale research testing together with field research to deliver science-based projects to tackle today, as well as last minute actions to prepare to take when severe weather is in the forecast. Now available as a downloadable PDF, this year’s guide includes detailed recommendations based on 2020 research for selecting a wind-rated garage door, which is one of the most vulnerable parts of the home during high winds.
“High winds can push a garage door inward, allowing pressure to build inside the garage and push up on the roof and surrounding walls—often resulting in major damage to your home,” said Cope. “Our latest research on how to protect against high winds shows a wind-rated garage door is key to reducing the damage from spring storms.”
To Be Thunderstorm Ready, homeowners should also take short term actions when severe weather is in the forecast. The guide details seven low-cost steps to take the morning of potential severe weather, from gathering loose items off a porch or patio to ensuring the garage door is closed.
IBHS recommends homeowners put science to work at their home by taking on these projects before warmer weather arrives:
- Trim Trees. Trees can pose a threat to your home during high winds. Have trees around the home trimmed by an arborist. Remove branches that overhang the house and dead, dying or diseased trees.
- Install a Home Lightning Surge Protector. This simple step can help save costly electronics, keeping equipment safe from power surges.
- Install Protective Screens on HVAC Units. Screens can prevent costly hail damage. In hail-prone regions, install screens around your home’s air conditioning unit to help reduce the chance of damage to coils and fins.
- Select a Wind-Rated Garage Door. Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable parts of the home in high winds. Wind-rated garage doors have been tested to show they can withstand these pressures and protect your home from a cascade of damage. If you’re not sure whether your garage door is wind-rated, it’s best to purchase a new wind-rated door.
- Upgrade to Steel Gutters & Downspouts. Steel is stronger than its more popular counterparts, vinyl and aluminum. In hail-prone regions, upgrade to steel products, which are more durable against hail impacts and less likely to leak.
- Upgrade to Good or Excellent Impacted Rated Shingles. Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against severe weather. Shingles add more than just architectural detail; they are critical to protecting your home against hail. Replace your shingles on time―and with the right product―to keep your home protected. Consider shingles rated Good or Excellent by IBHS.
Explore the entire guide at disastersafety.org/thunderstormready.
About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more about IBHS at DisasterSafety.org.