Since our inception in 1961, Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance has helped the people of Georgia weather many storms. We are constantly inspired by your resilience in the face of crisis and are proud to be there for our members during good times and bad, keeping the promise, No Matter the Storm.
There are many ways you can be better prepared to face inclement weather. We encourage you to follow these tips before, during and after a storm to stay safe and recover faster.
Before the Storm
Important Things to Review Each Year:
Have a plan. Dedicate a place in your home to meet in case of a tornado – preferably a basement, bathroom, closet or other room without windows.
Have an emergency kit ready with water, food, a first-aid kit and flashlights. Don’t forget the batteries! It is also a good idea to have a charged power bank to keep cell phones powered and ready for use.
Survey your property for dead or rotting branches or trees and have them removed immediately. In severe wind, they can cause damage to your home or vehicles.
Clean your gutters regularly.
Have your roof checked for existing damage and have it repaired. This can significantly decrease the chances of severe damage from wind.
If you haven’t already, consider replacing windows and exterior doors with pressure-and impact-rated versions, which could prevent your windows in your home from blowing out or breaking during a strong wind storm. If you aren’t able
to replace windows or doors, try putting up shutters, which can protect windows and exterior doors. Keep in mind taping windows doesn’t provide protection against breakage.
The Day Before a Storm:
Stay informed. There are several apps for your smart phone that will keep you up to date with weather alerts, but a battery-operated radio is ideal in case of power outages.
Secure outside items that could be blown around by wind. Items such as grills, patio furniture, trash cans, trampolines, and toys should be tied down or brought indoors.
Turn your refrigerator and freezers to the lowest setting. This should help keep food colder and help it to last longer in case of a power outage.
Unplug expensive electronics to guard against lightning and power surge.
Review your safety plans. Make sure your family knows where you will meet and how you will stay safe during the storm.
During a Storm
Severe Storm Safety
Georgia is more susceptible to thunderstorms than tornadoes and hurricanes. And, every thunderstorm contains lightning, which kills more people each year than other storms. Lightning is the third largest cause of storm deaths in America. Thunderstorms
can also cause high winds and heavy rains. The following tips will assist you and your family in staying safe during a Georgia thunderstorm:
Avoid areas that have standing water
Avoid windows and electrical equipment
Be on the lookout for flash flooding while traveling
Bring pets inside
Pay attention to downed power lines and falling trees
Secure loose objects
Stay away from bodies of water
Stay off the roads
Tornadoes are one of the deadliest natural disasters that occur in Georgia. Their winds alone can destroy homes, uproot trees, and down powerlines. It’s important to understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. Consider
the following tips to stay safe during a tornado:
Avoid windows and doors
Keep a battery-operated radio nearby for updates
Seek shelter in a basement
Stay away from overpasses
Stay off the roads
Remember that a “watch” means a tornado is possible and a “warning means a tornado has been spotted and shelter should be taken immediately.
After a Storm
Check in with friends and family using your communication plan, social media, or text
If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS
Pay attention when driving through barricades. Don’t ignore and drive past them, as they are probably there for a reason. Look ahead for loose branches or other things that can fall from trees.
Don’t drive through standing water in roads or parking lots. A vehicle can get swept away in depth of just 12 inches. Also, roads and bridges can collapse when covered with water. Vehicles in deep water can stall and leave you stranded.
Always be careful when entering a damaged building. If there is serious structural damage, contact local officials before entering. Report downed power lines or gas leaks. Keep electricity turned off if the building has been flooded.
Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. This could mean boarding up windows and salvaging undamaged items. Your insurance company can tell you what they will pay for regarding protection.
Contact GFB as soon as you can to file a claim and ask questions on next steps. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjuster’s name, phone number and work schedule.
Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster. Keep damaged items or portions of them until the claims adjuster has visited, and consider photographing or videotaping the damage to document your claim.
If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses. Most insurance policies cover emergency living arrangements.
Power outages are common after storms and many residents and businesses rely on backup generators until power can be restored. While power generators are quite useful, they also pose certain risks including fire, damage to electrical equipment and
even injury or death. Before using a generator, it’s important to understand these risks and the necessary precautions for safe operation.
When starting the cleanup process, be careful, and use protective eyewear and gloves, if available. Adjusters may tell business/home owners to hire a professional cleaning service.
The Georgia Farm Bureau team hopes you and your family stays safe during every storm. If your property has been damaged, don’t hesitate to call our Claims Department at 855-432-2567 for assistance.