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How to prepare for storms

Splashing in puddles wearing wellies (1)

During the autumn and winter months, Britain braces itself for the arrival of storm season, and during this period, storms are not just a distant possibility but a looming reality. Storms can be categorised as extreme atmospheric disturbances, like thunderstorms, squalls, or snowstorms.


The Met Office typically reports an average of 7.3 storms annually, each given a name when it is predicted to warrant an amber or red weather warning.


Our weather is notorious for its unpredictable nature, which underscores the importance of getting our homes ready to face the harsh elements.


In this guide, we'll offer valuable tips on what you can do before, during, and after a storm and how to prepare your home and your outdoor spaces.


Jump to:

How to protect your home against storm damage

Steps to take during a storm

Step to take after a storm

How to protect your home against storm damage

The best way to prepare for a storm is to be proactive and take steps to prevent damage to your home or outdoor areas. You’re much better off putting as much prep work in as possible, rather than clearing up a mess and paying for repairs that could’ve been avoided.

Maintain and secure outdoor areas

When anticipating a storm, it's a good idea to carefully consider what damage could be caused around your home.

Unkempt branches, large, heavy furniture, or loose fencing can pose a serious risk of breaking off and causing substantial damage to your home and belongings. 

Here are some tasks that you may want to do on a mild weather day to prepare for a storm:

  • Clear branches and trim trees
  • Check gutters and drains for blockages
  • Put away and secure outdoor furniture
  • Ensure fences and outdoor structures are secure
  • Check your chimney, roof, and skylights for weak spots or signs of leakage
  • Lock your car away (or park out of harm's way)
  • Put an accessible emergency kit together

For more details on these maintenance tasks, check out our complete guide to preparing your home and garden for bad weather.

Another thing you may want to consider is taking out home insurance. If you’re a tenant, including if you live in a Places for People rented property, your landlord covers the insurance of the building your home is in, but you hold the responsibility to insure your home’s contents so you may want to purchase contents insurance to protect your belongings. 

Steps to take during a storm

Every home should have an emergency kit that they can easily access during a storm, especially if your home is in an area that is prone to bad weather conditions. 

In the face of a severe storm that confines you indoors, an emergency kit becomes indispensable. It’s a good idea to anticipate different scenarios, from power outages to your phone running out of battery.

Key items for your storm emergency kit

  • Useful contact numbers: Compile a paper list in case your mobile runs out of battery
  • Phone charger and portable battery pack: Ensure the battery pack is fully charged with the necessary cables
  • Torches: Both a handheld torch and head torch may come in handy
  • Candles, matches, and lighters: Keep your rooms light
  • Non-perishable food and drink: Select items that don't require heating or cooking
  • Warm clothing and blankets: Be prepared for heating failures
  • Buckets, bowls, and towels: Useful for unexpected leaks
  • Entertainment: Give yourself something to pass the time with activities such as cards or board games

In the event of flooding

If your area is prone to flooding, strategically placed sandbags can mitigate water damage by redirecting flow. Buckets can be used to remove accumulated water and catch leaks.
If you live in a flood-prone area, stay informed by signing up for flood alerts from the Environment Agency and tracking storm progress on their website.

For in-depth advice on floods in your home, take a look at our Flooded home? What to do first blog.

If you’re a Places for People customer and you’re experiencing a flood up to your knees, we recommend calling our Help Line or you can report a repair to receive professional support.

Sandbags Outside House

Steps to take after a storm

Unfortunately, even after following our guide on how to prepare for a storm, damage can potentially still occur to your home.

Storm Damanged Fence

The first thing you should do if there is any damage is to notify your home insurance company. You will need to provide proof of the damage, so it’s a good idea to take photographs of any damage as soon as possible. Then, to establish how the claim process works with your specific insurer, you may need to set up an appointment with a loss adjuster to visit your home.

If you rent your home with Places for People, any issues with the building your home is located in are covered by our insurance, but the contents are your responsibility. Notify us as soon as possible if there is any structural damage to your home after a storm.

Ensure you’re taking adequate safety measures when doing your post-storm checks, and consider the following during the clear-up:

  • Trees: Inspect the condition of trees on your property, looking for broken branches or weakened trunks
  • Gutters and pipes: Check for blockages or damage in gutters and pipes and clear them to maintain proper drainage
  • Outdoor furniture: Examine outdoor furniture for any signs of damage or displacement
  • Fences: Check the stability and integrity of fences, repairing any damage to maintain security
  • Chimneys: Inspect chimneys for any visible damage, ensuring they remain structurally sound
  • Roof tiles and joints: Visually inspect your roof for any dislodged tiles
  • Cars: Assess your vehicles for any storm-related damage, including dents or broken windows
  • Windows and doors: Inspect windows and doors for leaks, cracks, or other storm-induced issues
  • Restock emergency kits: Re-charge portable chargers and buy more candles. Don’t put it off or forget about restocking anything you may have used during the storm