As you all know, Columbus suffered from a windstorm last week that left thousands of residents without power. Nobody really anticipated damaging weather, so few were prepared for the hurricane strength wind gusts that accompanied the storm.

As you all know, Columbus suffered from a windstorm last week that left thousands of residents without power. Nobody really anticipated damaging weather, so few were prepared for the hurricane strength wind gusts that accompanied the storm.

The Monday morning following the storm, my coworker listened in on a morning radio show game that inventoried "what's in your front yard?" Columbus residents called in with complaints ranging from a neighbor's displaced shed to camping tents and recycling bins. The most common report was by far, toppled trees and massive tree limbs that smashed cars, garages and homes.

Here are some tips that will help ensure you're ready for inclement weather conditions in the future.

Trim your trees regularly

Many people put off the hassles of tree trimming because it's either too expensive, inconvenient or because it may slip their mind. Trimming your trees is a necessity because it helps promote tree growth and it diminishes potential safety hazards.

Many advise hiring a professional arborist to shape your tree and cut problematic limbs. If you prefer doing it yourself, make sure you take caution around power lines and large branches. Cutting branches is a three step process that involves:

Undercutting the branch about 6 inches away from where the branch joins the tree. The cut should only be about one-fourth the diameter of the branch.

Making a second cut all the way through the branch about 3 inches even farther away from the trunk. This will ensure a clean break for the branch.

Lastly, cutting all the way through the remaining branch stub about half an inch away from where the branch joins the tree.

Consider purchasing

a home generator

Next time you lose electricity, be prepared with a home electricity generator.

When determining which generator is right for you, have an electrician estimate the total wattage of all appliances/devices in your home. If you want to try and approximate the wattage on your own, remember that Volts x Amps = Watts.

Electricians advise purchasing a generator with a capacity of 20 percent more than your home wattage requirements.

Creating an emergency kit

Finally, make sure you have a home emergency kit prepared. For winter months, you probably want this kit to include blankets, gloves, jackets and sleeping bags.

Make sure the kit has water, a flashlight and extra batteries. In terms of food, include some non-perishable items along with a can opener. It's always helpful to include a NOAA weather radio or a mini-generator as well.

For more information on how you can stay prepared for a storm, contact your local agent today.

Harley E. Rouda Jr. is the CEO of Real Living, one of the nation's fastest-growing real estate companies.

Harley E.

Rouda Jr.