Most clubs and members will be aware of the approach of Storm Lorenzo, the effects of which will begin to be felt across Ireland from Thursday morning and continuing into Friday. As of this morning a status Orange warning is in effect for some areas and status yellow warning for the rest of the Island.
Latest updates can be found on Met Eireann https://www.met.ie/warnings and Met Office https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/uk-warnings#?date=2019-10-03. In addition clubs should also pay attention via local radio to any local warnings which may be in effect for certain areas. The main impacts will include high winds, heavy rainfall and an increased risk of flooding.
These warnings are in place for a reason – to protect lives and mitigate property damage. If clubs have any planned activities for example underage training sessions, scheduled to take place during the weather warning, the activities should be cancelled where appropriate. If you proceed with holding the activity, you are putting the lives of members, visitors such as parents coming to collect children and the club property in danger. A common sense approach should be taken.
Below are some of the most common claims which has arisen at GAA properties as a result of previous storms:
· Ball Stop Nets: It is a condition of Property Insurance cover that retractable nets are retracted when not in use. If your nets are retractable they need to be retracted & secured now.
· Roof tiles & Roofs : These are easily blown off in severe weather, and gutters and fascia’s can also sustain some damage. Roofs in stands have also suffered damage in previous storms.
· Fallen trees and building damage: Trees are currently in full leaf with a large surface area, so even moderate strength winds can bring down weakened trees and/or tree limbs. Some trees may already be compromised due to saturated soils at the moment, and with more rain forecast with Storm Lorenzo some disruption due to falling trees/branches is likely. Heavy rain, coupled with falling leaves may block drains and gullies, leading to surface flooding.
· Flooding: If your club property is located in an area where a flood warning is in effect it might be worth investing in some sandbags and/or flood barriers to protect your property, particularly if you live in a flood risk area.
· Broken glass: Glass in windows can be damaged by severe winds or flying objects. Take care if trying to remove the glass, wear protective gloves and eye goggles.
· Boundary walls and fencing: collapsing in storm weather
· Before a storm:
· The best thing you can do at any time of the year is to make sure your property is well looked after. Property Insurance is not a maintenance cover and damage to property where the underlying cause of loss is determined to have occurred due to a lack of regular maintenance and/or upkeep will not be covered by property insurance.
· Retract Ball Stop Nets: It is a condition of Property Insurance cover that retractable nets are retracted when not in use. If your nets are retractable they need to be retracted & secured now.
· Check your roof regularly: Roof tiles should be checked once a year, and again after a severe storm, to make sure no tiles have come loose. Loose tiles could cause damage to your property or neighbouring property. Look for loose or missing tiles, crumbling pointing or any other signs of damage. Also ensure any television aerials and satellite dishes are securely attached. Professional contractors should only be engaged to carry out such works
· Check and secure your fencing and check boundary walls: Secure all fences, gates or posts on your property and regularly inspect boundary walls. These can cause severe damage to club property and neighbouring properties if blown away in a storm.
· Check any trees on the property and remove hazardous branches: Cut down loose or overhanging branches, particularly those close to windows or power lines. Professional contractors should only be engaged to carry out such works
· Keep gutters clear of moss and leaves: If your gutters overflow during a downpour, it’s time to give them a good clean. Remember to make sure they’re securely fixed in place once you’ve finished. Professional contractors should only be engaged to carry out such works
· Property Generally: Secure any loose objects such as portable goals or ground maintenance equipment which could be blown. Items must be locked away or safely secured at all times.
· Windows and doors: Close and lock all windows and doors securely.
· Services – ensure you know where water, gas and electricity mains are, should you need to turn them off or on at any stage. Have contact numbers available for professional contractors should services be required
Professionals perform many of the above jobs for a reason. If a task involves any hazardous activity such as working at heights, use of ladders, working near power lines, or use of power tools you must engage bone fide contractors to carry out such works.
After a Storm:
If your property has been affected by a storm, it can be frightening, but do not panic; there are some steps you can follow.
· Be careful: The most important thing is that you look after your safety. Do not touch cables which may have been blown down or are hanging. If your property has suffered damage, proceed with caution do not walk too close to buildings or trees that may have been weakened. Check for damage from a safe distance.
· Take photos: From a safe distance, take photos of any damage that occurred. Make a list also, as this will be useful for your insurer to process any claims more smoothly.
· Report the damage: if your property suffers damage as claims can be reported to Marsh Ireland via email at email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Details on property insurance policy excesses are provided in the attached declaration previously issued to all clubs
· Keep receipts: If you make any emergency repairs such as roof repair or glass replacement you must retain these receipts
Make decisions in the best interest of the club – do not reopen your club to normal club activities until it is safe to do so, be safe not sorry