Advice for extreme storms

General risk reduction on / in the house

Before the storm starts

  • Empty your balcony or terrace. If necessary, remove flower boxes.
  • Bring chairs, tables, umbrellas, screens, grills, planters etc. from the garden into the house or garden shed.
  • Inspect your house from the outside. Make sure that roof tiles and facade parts are securely in place.
  • If it is still possible before the storm, document the condition of your house by taking photos all around.
    (Homeowners should have the roof regularly inspected by a specialist, otherwise you may lose insurance cover)
  • Secure moving parts (retract awnings, lock garden gates, close garage door, secure garbage cans).
  • Have a mains-independent radio and flashlights with spare batteries (!), candles, and a lighter ready in case the power goes out at night.
    Attention: Emergency power generators from the hardware store are usually suitable only for ohmic consumers (light, electrical heating,
    possibly refrigerator) but not for electronic devices that can break due to such an emergency generator (-> use electronic-safe power generators!)
  • Make sure where the first aid kit, fire extinguisher, work gloves and possibly a hard hat can be found.
  • Make sure that your medicine cabinet, including pain relievers and wound disinfectants, is up to date.
  • Follow what is happening on the radio, if necessary, on the off-grid radio.

In a storm

  • People (and pets) should be indoors.
  • Close all windows and doors. Close the shutters. Do not stand next to windows.
  • If you absolutely have to go out, watch out for roof tiles that can fall down (particularly at risk: tiles / roof tiles
    at the ridge, verge and around roof penetrations such as dormers or chimneys) -> When you inevitably go out, look up!
  • Attention! Cladding e.g. on chimneys, but also entire chimneys or power lines can fall down.
  • Attention! Canopies / sheet metal roofs / roof supports can come loose.
  • If there are tall trees around your house that could fall on your house, then you shouldn't be in the top floor.
  • Do not stay in buildings with large roof spans (e.g. halls).
  • In case of cyclones: go to the basement / cellar.

Be careful outdoors

If you absolutely have to be outside during a storm:

  • Look for protected locations or shelters.
  • Put on a hard hat if you leave the house or the shelter.
  • Avoid inner-city streets if possible (roof tiles can fall in large quantities).
  • Avoid streets with lots of trees (wind throwing of trees and branches)
  • Avoid forests and parks.
  • Outdoor events / open airs etc. should be canceled. Leave such events.

Tips for drivers, truckers and two-wheelers:

  • Drive slowly (preferably not at all). Wind gusts can affect your vehicle and other vehicles and can push to the side especially box trucks,
    trucks with trailers, semi-trailers and buses.
  • Increase the distance between the sides when driving past obstacles.
  • If possible, do not overtake other vehicles. A gust can easily move your vehicle 1-2 m to the side.
  • When you want to get in or out, carefully open the vehicle doors and hold them tightly.
  • If possible, drive without a trailer and without roof luggage/loads.
  • Park your car in a garage / underground car park or in a place (open field) where there are no trees.
  • Do not park under overhanging lanterns and in the tilting area of ​​signs, construction site signs, construction fences, scaffolding,
    mobile sanitary systems, garbage cans etc.
  • Large empty trucks with and without trailers are very sensitive to cross winds - be careful! Risk of tipping over, especially on bridges!
  • As a truck driver, secure your objects of transport particularly strongly to absorb additional wind loads.
  • Stop cycling! Riding two-wheelers can be life-threatening in storms. A gust can hit you from the side, which can only be compensated by a dangling
    with the highest risk of accident.

Damage reporting and documentation of damage to the house / property

  • The fire brigade and auxiliaries are working at full speed, so limit yourself to reporting only an urgent need for action in case of avoidance of danger or personal injury.
  •  Otherwise, wait in the house / shelter until the storm subsides.
  • No rush to document the damage! After the storm, take photos of your wind damage to the house / garden / property. Take photos of all what the wind has "done" to you.
  • Take also general photos of the damage to neighboring houses or to neighboring properties. With this, you can prove to the insurance that the damage was not caused by a poor condition of your own house. Record the name and address of the neighbors.
  • Gather data! Measure e.g. how far objects have "flown" or what diameter and height a thrown tree had.
  • Do not repair damage to your house / property without first documenting it in detail and consulting your insurance company giving them the possibility of sending an expert for inspection. Of course, if you can you should cover openings in the roof with foil so that no further damage is caused e.g. by rain.
  • In the event that the damage caused should endanger people (e.g. tree is already sloping and threatens to fall on the street), however, you must act immediately and remove the hazard or have it carried out by the fire brigade and emergency services.
  • Report damage to vehicles without delay to insurance.
  • Scan / copy / download the local newspaper coverage of the storm the following day and put this information on your files.


Disclaimer: The author (s) does not assume any liability for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided. Liability claims against the author (s) relating to material or immaterial damage caused by the use of the information provided or by the use of incorrect and incomplete Information caused are generally excluded.