Small precautions now go a long way to prevent storm damage, says expert

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Whether the next two storms come close, it’s not too early to take the necessary precautions to protect yourselves and your property.

An expert says little things that you do now or ahead of time can go a long way in preventing rain and wind damage.

Heavy rain during a storm can not only flood your home but can also lead to tragedy. So keeping water away from your property is a priority.

Something as simple as cleaning out your rain gutters is an important preparation for upcoming storms.

“A lot of times there’s leaves or other debris that collect in gutters. It clogs, once it clogs up and it starts raining they get heavy and they’re likely to collapse,” said Dennis Hwang from the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program.

Once the rain gutters collapse, the pieces of metal can also fly around like projectiles to cause more damage. Hwang, who is the co-author of the Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards, says homeowners should also clear drainage paths leading out of your property.

“You’re supposed to make sure that those drainage outlets are clear, no leaves or debris or grass growing inside them,” he said.

As for the winds, Hwang says the best protection is making sure you have hurricane clips, which attach your walls to the roof. To protect your windows, install storm panel screws well ahead of time so you can put the plywood on quickly when needed.

“The key is to do this beforehand. It takes one hour to prepare each panel but once you’re prepared it takes five minutes to put up,” said Hwang.

While coastal areas seem to take the brunt of a storm, Hwang adds when the winds are strong, the interior sections of all islands can suffer extensive damage.

“They become susceptible, that’s why the wind is the greatest threat in terms of property damage,” he said.

If you have flood insurance, Hwang adds you should check the policy now and see what’s covered. And take pictures of your valuables.

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