Hurricanes can be devastating for your personal property and surrounding neighborhood. Follow these steps to protect your home and stay safe during the next Hurricane disaster:
1) Cover Your Windows
High wind speeds can cause debris to shatter windows. Shattered glass is a safety concern and it opens up your home to the dangerous elements outside. If you don’t have hurricane-tempered glass windows, the best and most affordable option is to safeguard your windows with wooden boards such as plywood. If you do have hurricane-tempered glass windows, you don’t need to board your windows. In areas where hurricanes are a common occurrence, your house may come with hurricane shutters. Some hurricane shutters open and close accordion-style while others roll down. Make sure your hurricane shutters are permanently installed on your windows so they can be quickly opened and secured at a moment’s notice. There is a common myth that duct taping an ‘X’ on your window can reduce the amount of shattered glass should the window break. Not only is this untrue, it’s dangerous. When taped, glass can break into larger shards, which can be even more dangerous than small pieces. Another myth is that keeping your windows open a crack can help equalize the pressure inside the home. This is also untrue. An open window may allow debris to enter your home at high speeds, putting you and your home at greater risk.
2) Strap Down Your Roof
Roofs have been known to partially or completely blow off during strong hurricanes. The best way to secure your roof is by using hurricane straps or clips to minimize the risk of damage. Roof straps and clips help fasten the roof to your home, giving it the best chance of making it through the storm.
3) Secure Your Outdoor Items
Pools, outside furniture, and yard décor can quickly become a dangerous liability during hurricane season. Before a hurricane is expected to hit, bring as many of your outdoor items indoors as possible. For items that are too big or dirty to come inside, such as lawn care tools, kayaks, and pool chairs, you’ll need another strategy for securing them. If you have a pool, a smart way to keep your waterproof belongings safe is by submerging them. The furniture will sink and stay safe during even the heaviest wind and rain. For pools with a liner, put tennis balls on the bottom of chairs and chaise lounges to prevent scuffing before submerging. If you don’t have a pool or your items won’t fit in your pool, you can either secure them or move them to a safe location. Stake down sizeable items and use rope to keep them from moving, rent a protected storage space, or transport items to an area the storm isn’t expected to hit.
4) Trim Your Trees
Fallen trees and branches can cause major damage to people, homes, and vehicles, as well as the trees themselves. Schedule regular tree maintenance and as hurricane season approaches, trim all trees and shrubbery in anticipation of heavy winds and rain. If there’s a particular tree or plant you’re concerned about, the best remedy could be to remove it entirely.
5) Caulk Around Your Windows and Doors
If there’s a chance water could leak through door jams or window crevices, caulk them. Even if the hurricane is downgraded by the time it reaches your home, heavy rain can still cause major flooding and home damage.
6) Purchase Insurance
If your neighborhood is susceptible to hurricanes, consider investing in a robust plan that includes wind and flood insurance.
How Do I Stay Safe During a Hurricane?
Keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe during a hurricane should always be your top priority. Here are some important hurricane safety tips:
1) Bar the Door
Lock and block your exterior doors on the inside with a piece of heavy furniture or sandbags to avoid the force of wind or flying debris blowing in your door. This may also protect you against looting, which can occur in areas with mandatory or voluntary evacuations.
2) Stay Indoors
It can be tempting to leave your home and experience the elements during a storm or hurricane. Don’t do it. Even if you’re able to walk in the winds, you’re risking being pelted with debris, getting knocked over during a strong gust, or carried away by rushing water during a flood. Stay safe indoors until the storm passes and authorities announce you can safely go outside again. To avoid cabin fever that can lead to the temptation to go outdoors, make sure you have activities to do at home. Books, packs of cards, and board games are great to keep everyone in your household entertained. If you have a sizeable stash of backup batteries in case the power goes out, you can watch TV shows or play handheld video games.
3) Beware of Downed Electricity Lines
Downed power lines are a noteworthy threat following hurricanes and other extreme storms. Never step in puddles near damaged power lines or broken poles, as you risk being electrocuted. The same goes for your pets. Do not approach someone who is unconscious near or around damaged power line poles. Stay away and call for help to avoid electrocution.
4) Prepare for Hurricane Season Today
Now that you know how to prepare for hurricane season, start immediately. If you procrastinate, your local stores may run out of non-perishables and your local gas station may run out of gas. Plus, attempting to secure your home when the strong winds are already blowing can be uncomfortable and dangerous. Share this guide with friends and family to remind them to stay safe as well.
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“Hurricane Research Division of AOML/NOAA.” Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory, 2014, www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/
“Pets Safety Tips During Hurricane | NWC.” NW Climate, www.nwclimate.org/severe-weather/hurricane-preparation-guide/pets-safety/
“Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.” Glossary of NHC Terms, www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php
“What Are Hurricanes? What Happens during a Hurricane?” NDBC – Science Education, National Data Buoy Center, 28 June 2016, www.ndbc.noaa.gov/educate/hurr.shtml
“What’s the Difference Between a Tropical Storm and a Tropical Depression?” Edited by Charles Cosner, NASA, NASA, pmm.nasa.gov/education/content/what-difference-between-tropical-storm-and-tropical-depression