9 ways to protect your home from extreme winds2/1/2024
British Columbia is known for beautiful natural landscapes, but we’re also prone to extreme weather and storms – especially since so many of us live on the windy Pacific coast.
Strong winds are a significant threat to the safety of your home and family. When the wind picks up, it's important to take precautions to protect your home and loved ones.
Here are nine tips to prepare your home for extreme BC winds.
1. Stash or tie down patio furniture and equipment
One of the most common causes of damage during strong winds is loose items in your yard. Your patio chairs, trampolines, tools and other patio gear can easily take flight and cause serious damage to your home or neighbouring properties. To keep your stuff on the ground where it belongs, stash or tie them down before the wind comes calling. Stack them into a shed or garage and use bungee cords and weights to keep them in place. This will protect your home (and your friendships with neighbours) from being damaged by flying projectiles. And if you can, park your car in a garage or under a carport.
2. Reinforce your windows, doors and garage door
After you’ve locked down your outdoor furniture and gear, have a look at your doors and windows. They are often the weakest parts of your home during strong winds. To prevent them from being pummelled and smashed by strong winds, you can install storm shutters or in extreme cases, board up your windows. You can also reinforce the doors with deadbolts or slide bolts to keep them locked tight.
3. Trim your trees
Ask anyone who lives in a cabin (or anywhere in Vancouver – which is home to about 138,000 boulevard trees) and they’ll tell you that tree branches are a big threat during a windstorm. Dead or dying branches can snap off and cause damage to your home, property and vehicles, or seriously injure you. To keep your property and yourself safe, trim your tree branches before the wind blows through. Consider hiring a professional arborist, especially when your trees are close to power lines.
4. Check your roof
Exposed to the sky and trees, your roof is extremely vulnerable to strong winds and flying branches. Loose shingles and tiles can peel or break off, damage your property or fly through your neighbour’s window. Well before a storm hits land, inspect your roof for aged, cracked or loose materials. It’s worth noting that falling from a roof or ladder can cause serious injury. Consider hiring a roofing company to repair or reinforce your roof before a storm comes.
5. Get or create an emergency kit
During extreme winds, you need to be prepared for power outages that tend to hit BC’s coastal communities and islands. Prepare an emergency kit that contains life-saving essentials like flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies and enough water and non-perishable food to keep you safe for 72 hours. Members can get 20% off a Grab-and-Go emergency kit from F.A.S.T. using your BCAA Membership. Make sure you have an evacuation plan that yourself and your family can remember.
6. Know how to turn off utilities
When an emergency hits, you may need to shut off your utilities, like your electricity, gas and water. Well in advance of windy season, locate your shut-off valves and switches and then practice turning them off in case of an emergency.
7. Stay informed
When a storm finally arrives, keep an eye on weather updates in your community. Follow local news and weather reports to stay up to date on wind warnings and advisories. For updates, be sure to follow BC Hydro on X or Facebook and FortisBC on X or Facebook. For municipalities that have their own utilities, you can follow your local community social media updates in Nelson, New Westminster, Grand Forks, Penticton, or Summerland.
You can also download the Windy weather warning app to track wind patterns.
8. Take photos and videos
Take photos of your home’s condition before and after a storm. If you do suffer damages from a windstorm, you’ve got a good ‘before the storm’ documentation of how your property should look and be repaired.
9. Insure your home against storm damage
Get home insurance to protect your home and possessions and give you peace of mind. Over a one-year period BCAA paid out 95% of claims related to fire, water, weather and theft.* There are many ways you can save with BC’s Most Trusted Insurance Brand.** You save 5% on BCAA Home Insurance when you buy online. Plus, BCAA Members automatically save 10% on BCAA Home Insurance, and you’ll save an extra 1% (up to 10%) for every consecutive year you’ve had your home insurance with us.*** Get more information on how BCAA Home Insurance is your safety net in any storm.
Home Insurance is sold through B.C.A.A. Holdings Ltd. dba BCAA Insurance Agency, a licensed insurance agency, and underwritten by BCAA Insurance Corporation.
*From 2019 to 2020, BCAA paid out on average 95% of home insurance claims related to fire, water, weather and theft. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
**BCAA, in association with CAA, was chosen as the #1 Most Trusted Insurance Brand in Canada by the 2023 Gustavson Brand Trust Index.
*** BCAA Member savings on insurance products are only available with Basic, Plus, or Premier Membership plans. For full details, please visit bcaa.com/plans.