c. Brace garage doors with addi- tional support from the inside. NO. 5 Use a generator during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet. Flooding Any area can be over- whelmed by a flash flood, but some areas are more susceptible to flooding than others. To protect your proper- ty from rising waters: NO. 1 Find your flood risk on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center page: NO. 2 Check the grading of soil around your foundation so water will flow away from the house when it rains. Install additional drainage if necessary or re-grade problem areas. NO. 3 Clear gutters and down- spouts of blockages to help shed water away from the home. NO. 4 Test your sump pump before storms arrive to make sure it comes on when water flows into the sump pit. NO. 5 Stack sandbags around the perimeter of the house and in front of entryways to prevent rising water from entering the property. Wildfires fires are often sparked by lightning and exacerbated by weather condi- tions such as drought, low humidity, and high winds. Wildfires can occur from coast to coast but are most prevalent in the southern and west- ern states. The best thing you can do to protect your investment against a wildfire is to create “defensible space” by doing the following: You may not think of a wildfire as a severe weather event, but wild-

diverse climates and our cities are spread across nearly 2.3 billion acres. The first step to minimizing losses brought by Mother Nature is becoming familiar with the weath- er where you invest. Some types of preparation can be done well in advance of a storm approaching, where other steps might not be possible or practical to do until just before the storm arrives. How can you prepare for the most common severe weather risks? The Midwest and Southeast tend to have an increased risk of thunder- storms in the spring and summer months. The Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard are the most susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes, but the southwestern, midwestern and eastern states are also often affected by the remnants of these types of storms. To minimize wind and water damage: NO. 1 Secure loose gutters or downspouts and clear any clogged areas to prevent water damage. NO. 2 Trim dead limbs and remove dead trees to keep flying debris from damaging the main structure and neighboring properties or from injuring someone. NO. 3 Be sure your sump pump and security alarm are both connected to battery backups. NO. 4 As storms approach: a. Instruct tenants to bring in any outdoor furniture, deck, or yard decorations if severe weather is in the forecast. Severe Storms: Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Tropical Storms & Hurricanes b. Install permanent storm shut- ters or board up windows with plywood to help prevent win- dows from being damaged.

NO. 1 Frequently clear dead vegeta- tion, dried leaves, pine needles, and ground debris from around the home. NO. 2 Remove all tree limbs within 10 feet of the chimney, or that overhang the roof. NO. 3 Create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways/paths, patios, and decks. NO. 4 Create at least 12 feet of space between canopy tops for trees 30 to 60 feet from the home. NO. 5 Make sure entry points into the home are guarded; for example, vents should be covered with mesh screen. MITIGATION TECHNIQUES Mitigating losses after a severe weather event is very important. To keep yourself safe during the pro- cess of mitigation: • Watch for downed power lines and other potential hazards left from the event. • Wear boots and heavy gloves during clean up – snakes and oth- er animals may be in the house. • Do not touch electrical equip- ment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock. • Only use generators or other gas-powered machinery out- doors and away from windows. • Return to inspect the property only when authorities say it’s safe.

> Continued on :: PG 112

BreAnn Stephenson is the Loss Prevention Director at National Real Estate Insurance

Group, which specializes in protecting real estate investors with custom-cov- erage options for investment properties. Learn more at or contact her at

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