Thanks to warmer ocean temperatures and changing weather patterns, hurricanes are a threat to an increasing number of coastal and inland areas of our country. If you are new to an area susceptible to hurricanes then pay attention to how you can protect your property and possessions during one of these destructive storms. If you have been through hurricanes in the past, you no doubt agree that you can never be too prepared for the next one. Read on to find 5 important steps to protect your home before a hurricane strikes.
Prepare the Exterior
Make a quick inspection of your roof and gutters. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are free of any debris or leaf litter. Board up windows using ¾ exterior grade plywood that you already have cut for each window. Store all lawn furniture inside, as well as planters, trashcans, etc. Make sure nothing is left outside that can be turned into a one hundred mile an hour projectile.
Prepare the Interior
If you are in an area where your home is likely to sustain damage from rising water, make sure you raise your furniture, electronics, etc. up off the floor. You might want to turn off the electricity to your house at the circuit breaker box. This will protect your appliances from power surges and lower the risk of you being electrocuted if you come back to a damaged home.
Park your vehicle inside your garage. Garage doors are highly susceptible to wind damage. Depending on your abilities as a driver, you can use your vehicle and some lumber to buttress the garage door. After you close the garage door place several pieces of lumber against the garage door immediately behind your vehicle. Carefully back your vehicle to within an inch or so of the lumber, just close enough so that when the wind pushes against the garage door it will only move slightly.
Protect you appliances and electronics
Your electronics and appliances are susceptible to electrical surges during a hurricane. Lightning is a major concern during storms and can travel through your electrical and cable wires and fry your sensitive electronics. Make sure they are plugged into surge protectors.
Turn your refrigerator and freezer down to their coldest settings to keep food as long as possible in the event of a power outage. Also refrain from opening the doors as much as possible.
Plans for evacuating
If you are going to evacuate, then the best strategy is to be ready before the evacuation order comes out and leave before the mass exodus begins. If you are in an evacuation zone, it is best to have somewhere nearby to weather out the storm. If possible, plan on staying with family or friends or make arrangements (the earlier the better) to stay in a safe hotel. Go 5 miles inland, maybe 10, but not 200. If your house does suffer damage you don’t want to leave it unattended for any length of time.
Before leaving turn off the gas to your home at the gas meter. If you have propane make sure it is shut off. It is also a good idea to shut off the electricity as mentioned previously. The same goes for your water. However, you may want to fill your tub even if you are evacuating so that you have some water in reserve should you return home and the utilities are still down.
Preparing the Family
The most important part of preparing for a hurricane is making sure your family is prepared and that you are informed about hurricanes if you live anywhere near an area susceptible to them. Make sure every member of the family knows what needs to be done ahead of time. Have everyone help get the necessary supplies together.