North Dakota hasn’t exactly been a stranger to disaster recently — between tornadoes, drought and a recent blizzard. But the harsh weather takes its toll on buildings as much as their residents. We’ve seen the effects that the weather can have on houses and businesses. The question is, how do we stop it?

While there’s no way we can completely prevent the forces of nature from hitting our homes, there are ways to soften the blows.

Sarah Dillingham, a meteorologist and senior director of Product Design at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, discussed how we can prepare for the next disaster to come our way.

And as it turns out, to many, the most dangerous part of winter weather isn’t the snow — it’s the wind.

“Wind getting into the home is one of the things that you want to mitigate,” Sarah told us.

One way that wind gets into your home, whether it be from winter weather or severe convective weather, wind can cause damage to your garage doors. That’s a big failure point that we see with many homes.”

With wind being a major cause for concern in all seasons, Dillingham recommends replacing older or damaged roofs and switching to sturdier features.

Reinforcing gutters and drainpipes prevents them from taking damage, and steel garage doors are great at preventing pressure buildup.

“Taking a look at your roof health, and determining if something needs to be replaced,” said Dillingham, “is important. You also want to take a look at those garage doors. And in North Dakota, you’re no stranger to large hail and the damage that can do as well, so installing some of those protective screens for your HVAC systems and your gutter systems, and maybe installing those that are the steel-type that’s gonna give you a little bit better protection against that.”

Even if you don’t have the time or money to fix things up before the next storm hits, don’t worry: there are some quick easy ways to stave off a few problems.

“Sealing some of those cracks around your window a couple days before you think severe weather might be approaching,” explained Dillingham, is a good way to protect yourself on a budget: “you want to make sure that you’re securing any of those loose items around the home so that they don’t become windborne projectiles.”

Investments to protect against storm damage can be a costly matter, but looking at the damage nature can cause, it’s paying a little upfront to avoid paying a lot down the line.

Better safe than sorry, right?