On the disaster preparedness scale, windstorms do not get as much attention as hurricanes and tornadoes. While this makes sense, since a windstorm is not as destructive as a hurricane or tornado, it is still a serious weather event that can cause significant damage, and as such, should warrant an emergency preparedness plan. Critical Path Solutions can help you develop a disaster preparedness plan for windstorms in your municipality that will help save lives.
The Danger of Windstorms
Windstorms may or may not be accompanied by rain, snow, sleet or hail. A windstorm can happen anywhere, anytime, regardless of temperature and barometric pressure.
The danger that a windstorm can bring, while not as catastrophic as a hurricane or tornado, can still be significant and result in loss of life if no emergency response plan is in place.
The biggest threat from a windstorm is that of falling trees, limbs and branches. Trees can blow over and fall directly on people, cars or houses, crushing whoever is inside. Even when falling trees do not result in loss of life, they can cause widespread power outages. Downed wires can be a secondary cause of loss of life.
Power failures can also result in deaths due to inability to operate life-saving equipment such as oxygen tanks. Loss of heat and air conditioning can also result in death.
Building damage, while less serious than death or other threats to human life, can be catastrophic and expensive. In the case of apartment building, many residents can be rendered homeless by a windstorm that causes damage to a building’s integrity. The cost of repairing the building may be prohibitive, or it may take much longer to repair than the residents are able to wait.
Windstorm Training & Preparedness
In the case of windstorms, more can be done proactively to prepare than can be done for a tornado or a hurricane. Since the bulk of the damage of a windstorm comes from falling trees, limbs and airborne debris, you can create a disaster preparedness plan that helps you better avoid these risks. The bulk of this plan lies with tree care.
Trees should be trimmed and evaluated regularly. Trimming gets rid of the dead wood that could threaten residents in a windstorm. Evaluation of trees by a certified arborist can bring to light problems that make trees vulnerable to windstorms. Methods of correcting the problems may be suggested, or the arborist may recommend tree removal.
Taking a proactive approach to trimming trees and keeping them healthy is a huge step to avoiding costly and catastrophic damage from a windstorm. Municipalities and utilities should work together to identify trees that need to be cut back to prevent accidents such as death or injury from a live wire or loss of power.
To learn more about windstorm training, disaster preparedness exercises, blackout training and how to develop an emergency preparedness plan, talk to the team at Critical Path Solutions.