Windstorm Preparedness—Lessons from the European Storms

November 8, 2013

Windstorms can cause all types of emergencies

In the nine months that I lived in the UK, I saw some pretty rotten weather, but nothing like the windstorm that battered Europe last week. The NY Times reported 99 mile-per-hour gusts, the most severe wind to hit the continent since 1987. Power outages, infrastructural damage, halted public transportation, and (thankfully few) deaths have been reported, and it will likely be a while before the full extent of the damage is calculated.

Windstorms, like the one that hit Europe last week, require more specialized preparation than simply having an emergency kit and lots of batteries. Most windstorm-related fatalities result from fallen trees, with loose debris (rocks, bricks, etc.). Thus, windstorms also require you to make preparations around your home (securing items that may fall) and your surrounding property to make sure damages are minimal.

The following resources can help you prepare yourself, your property, and your neighborhood against the possibility of a severe autumn windstorm and other emergency situations:

• Our insight articles can help you learn how to prepare for, react to, and bounce back from a disaster.

• The Mother Nature Network has a simple, straightforward list of ten tips for preparing for tornadoes, wind, and hailstorms.

• FM Global, an East Coast insurance company, provides an extremely thorough checklist  for neighborhood ERTs, individual properties, and families.

• My home state of Washington is fairly accustomed to the seasonal windstorm. This wa.gov brochure lists what to do before, during, and after a storm.

This seattle.gov one-sheet is a slimmed down version of the same info.

Although many of us may live in parts of the world we consider safe from the dramatic weather events—tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes—that routinely plague other places, we should still prepare just in case. Mother Nature is nothing if not fickle, and reminds us over and over the importance of preparedness.

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