By Katie Wright, PA
Ahead of Storm Barra sweeping in from the Atlantic on Tuesday, Met Éireann has warned of a "weather bomb" that poses a "danger to life".
The west of Ireland is due to be hit hardest, with a status red wind warning for Kerry and Cork. An orange wind warning is in place for many western counties and some eastern counties, with a yellow wind warning covering the rest of the country.
If you live in a high-risk area, it’s not too late to protect your property from the damaging effects of gale force winds, heavy rain or snow. These expert tips will help stormproof your home…
Protect your valuables
Flooding might follow heavy rain, and water can cause irreparable damage to your home and valuables.
“You can move items that cannot be replaced – such as photograph albums – to safe places on upper floors,” says Ian Paton, partner in building consultancy at Cluttons. Other items to consider relocating include “cars, pets, furniture, electrical equipment and treasured possessions”.
If you don’t have an upper floor, consider moving things like important documents to higher storage spaces, rather than keeping them in drawers close to ground level.
Suzy Tiffany, home claims director at More Than, says: “If you spot any problems immediately before a storm, try and find an expert to get them fixed as soon as possible. But if no experts are available at short notice, try and move any treasured items away from that area of the house, just in case.”
Inspect roofing and gutters
“Check roof tiles are in good order and gutters are free-flowing, and cleared of all leaves and debris,” says Michael Jones, national waterproofing manager at Rentokil Property Care and Peter Cox.
“It’s important to check your roof is of sturdy build, with no structural damage, such as rot or woodworm, that may cause a collapse due to the weight of snow on the roof. The last storm caused a lot of damage across the country, with reports of gable ends collapsing.”
Plan for evacuation
If there’s a risk you need to evacuate your home, it’s important to be prepared.
“Check with your local council to find out where your nearest evacuation centre might be if required,” Paton says. “You should also check if pets are allowed – if not, consider moving your pet elsewhere.”
In the event of floodwater entering your property, make sure you know how to turn off gas, electricity and water mains. Paton adds: “Check insurance is up to date and covers storms and flooding, and that the value of your contents is up to date.”
Prepare a flood kit
A flood kit contains copies of important documents and practical items such as “torches, spare batteries, a windup radio, bottled water (fill all spare vessels with clean drinking water), medicines, spare clothing and blankets”, Paton says.
He also advises keeping a paper copy of “emergency phone numbers in your flood kit, including doctors, energy suppliers, local police, local builders, family and neighbours”.
Follow public safety advice
The most important step is following public safety advice. The Irish Coast Guard, Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána and local authorities have issued the following advice:
- Stay away from all coastal areas for the duration of the Met Éireann warnings.
- All road users should be aware of the hazardous travelling conditions, and only necessary journeys should be undertaken. Motorists should slow down and be aware of the dangers of fallen trees and debris. High sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable during this time.
- As conditions will vary throughout the event, people need to take account of the local conditions and advice from their local authority.
- The public are warned electricity wires are always live, never approach. If you see fallen or damaged wires, keep clear and phone ESB Networks immediately on 1800 372 999/021 238 2410.
- Should red level weather warnings be issued, the public are advised to shelter in place for the duration of the warning.