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Officials urge residents to prep for spring, summer storms

Apr 14, 2013 - From staff reports

With springtime right around the corner and temperatures starting to rise, Wyoming Insurance Commissioner Tom Hirsig is reminding Wyoming residents that they may experience thunderstorms, flooding, wind, hail and lightning in upcoming months.

Wyoming's damaging hail season is considered to be from mid-April to mid-August. The first heavy rain and hail in April serves as a reminder to consumers that hail season has begun, and that late spring and summer storms can cause localized street and stream flooding.

Wyoming policyholders should review their insurance policies yearly with their agent or company to make sure they have the coverage needed to protect their family and their belongings. They can also contact the Wyoming Department of Insurance at 777-7401, toll free in Wyoming at 1-800-438-5768, or online at http://insurance.state.wy.us for more information about issues dealing with insurance. All Wyoming residents should ensure they have access to a weather alert radio, check appropriate weather bulletins, and know the danger signs of approaching storms. Additional tips to protect yourself and your property from the dangers of destructive storms are:

- Buy emergency repair items such as lumber, plastic tarps and sandbags.

- Protect large windows and move valuables away from windows.

- Brace garage doors and move loose items indoors, such as patio furniture.

- Trim back any dead wood from trees. This will reduce the amount of wind stress on trees and eliminate potential damage from falling limbs.

- Move cars, trailers and campers to garages or next to a home or outbuilding.

- Prepare to be without electricity, stock up on canned goods and bottled water. Check supplies of medicines and first aid equipment. Check batteries in radios and flashlights.

- Bring pets indoors.

- Get inside a home, building or hard top automobile.

- Avoid showering or bathing; plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

- Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damages.

Homeowner's and commercial property policies do not cover damage from floods. The National Flood Insurance Program is the source for flood insurance. To look into flood insurance, go to www.floodsmart.gov. In the event that Wyoming residents experience the damaging effects of summer storms, here are some tips to consider after the storm:

- Assess the damage. Check trees, shrubs and plants around your home. If they are stripped of their foliage, there is a possibility that your roof is damaged.

- Check your car for dents and broken or cracked glass.

- Protect your property from further damage. Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof so that no water can enter and damage your home's interior.

- Cover broken glass in your car to prevent damage to the interior from rain.

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