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How to prepare your home, business for high winds

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Posted at 11:07 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 18:37:16-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Emergency management officials offer tips to prepare your home ahead of potentially damaging winds Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Wind gusts may reach up to 60 mph, which could cause power outages.

FEMA lists the following to protect the outside of your property:

  • Fortify the roof - re-adhere any loose shingles
  • Trim or remove dead, damaged, or rotting trees and limbs
  • Secure objects outside - this includes items like dog houses, trash cans, and gutters
  • Seal cracks and gaps - fill holes or gaps around pipes or wires with a waterproof sealant
  • Anchor any fuel tanks and external utility links

To protect the inside of your property:

  • Document contents inside - having a record of belongings can help the insurance process
  • Unplug electrical appliances if you lose power
  • Reinforce garage doors - this can be done with girts and by strengthening the wheel track
  • Protect windows and glass doors with storm shutters

Brown County Emergency Management posted on Facebook to remind people to secure loose holiday decorations, including inflatables. People can tie them down or move decorations indoors.

"This is the type of wind gusts that could definitely move stuff like that around," said Lauri Maki, Brown County Emergency Management Director.

The latest information from the NBC 26 Weather Center shows high winds may last well into Wednesday night.

"When it's that windy for that long, we could very well be looking at a lot of trees down, power lines down," Maki said. "It's not a bad idea to stay in an interior room away from windows, especially if the wind is howling or if you're worried about something like that."

Crews with Wisconsin Public Service are also preparing for what's ahead. Matt Cullen, a WPS spokesperson, said that includes taking inventory of tools ,equipment and updating staffing plans.

If someone sees a downed power line, they shouldn't go near it.

"Stay at least 25 ft. away from that downed line and report it to WPS or a local law enforcement agency right away," Cullen said. "That way we can send a crew out to the area to make that area safe, and begin the process of making repairs and restoring service to any customers that may have been impacted by that down line."

People can report power outages or downed lines to WPS through an app, online or over the phone at 800-450-7240.

Another tip from Cullen and Maki is to have a disaster kid ready filled with essentials like a flash light, blanket, chargers and water bottles. Maki said people should charge electronics in advance in case the power goes out.