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There are many websites available for Emergency Preparedness Checklists: FEMA’s www.ready.gov and the American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family among others. We want to discuss ways to prepare your yard in advance of an impending storm containing high winds:

Wind Storms: Preparations for the Yard

Pruning is essential to prevent serious damage to landscaping and property damage during high winds.  Thinning trees, bushes and shrubs is important to prevent breakage by allowing winds to move through the plant with less resistance.

Always trim tree branches that overhang the home to prevent damage; and branches located near electrical or phone lines should also be removed using all safety precautions. (Always contact Duke Energy for their assistance in removing limbs and branches close to electrical lines).

Removing dead or diseased trees is also recommended for the safety of life and property. Be sure to check with your local government for tree removal permitting and ordinances prior to removal.

Bring all objects indoors. This includes toys, swing sets, mailboxes, lawn and garden decorations, gardening tools, birdbaths, dog houses, wind chimes, satellite dishes, trampolines, garbage cans and anything that could potentially become a projectile during a storm with high winds.

Did you know that stockade (privacy) fencing is especially prone to collapse during a high wind storm? By removing every third panel, you can reduce wind resistance and perhaps save the fence.

And don’t forget to take time to document the condition of your property. Photographs or video of the property inside and outside the home (both prior to and after the storm) is a valuable tool when the time comes to file insurance claims.