As we find ourselves in the midst of another devastating hurricane season, it’s worth remembering that there are always steps you can take to help protect your home from severe storms. Tropical storm and hurricane home protection requires advance planning, but can significantly reduce the chances of injury or major property damage.
Before the Storm
Long before a hurricane makes landfall, it’s important to know what to do, and where to go, in the event that you need to take action.
Know your Emergency Shelters
The American Red Cross provides an online listing of open storm shelters during emergencies.
Watch vs. Warning
For a refresher on hurricane terminology, including the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning (and what to do in each case) the National Hurricane Center provides a wealth of important information.
Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
Your home should always be equipped with an emergency preparedness kit, which includes flashlight and extra batteries, a portable, battery-operated radio, a first aid kit, non-perishable food and water, any essential medications you may need, extra cash and credit cards.
Hurricane Home Protection
Whether you need to evacuate or stay in your home to weather the storm, these hurricane home protection steps will help keep your property secure and reduce the likelihood of major damage.
Protect Your Windows
Installing permanent storm shutters is the best way to protect this vulnerable part of your house. In a pinch, putting up plywood panels is an effective low-cost alternative.
Trim Back Branches
Trim away branches that could potentially damage your house if they fall, taking special care to remove dead, damaged and weak limbs.
Inspect the Roof
The roof is one of the areas most prone to hurricane damage, especially if weaknesses are already present. Check for leaks, loose and damaged shingles, and weak flashing around chimneys.
Clean Up the Lawn
Loose items on your property can be picked up and turned into projectiles by high winds. Pack away anything that may be hazardous around your house, including lawn mowers, barbecue grills, bicycles, children’s toys, patio furniture and lawn decorations. Even satellite dishes and antennae can be dangerous.
Check into your Home and Auto Insurance
Confirm that your policies are valid and the coverage is sufficient for your needs.
Be Ready for a Power Outage
Have a backup generator ready in case you lose power. Unplug sensitive electronics during a storm to protect them from power surges.
In the event of a severe storm or hurricane, it’s also important to develop a family communication plan, and make sure that all family members know what to do. Everyone in your household should know how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity, when to call the police or fire department, and which radio station to turn to for emergency information. With a bit of home hurricane protection, your house and your family are more likely to weather the storm unscathed.
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