Long before hurricane season begins, there are things you should do to get your home ready for the storm season:
- Keep your trees trimmed, removing all overgrowth and dead branches.
- Make or buy shutters for all your doors and windows NOW, not in the days before a hurricane threatens the Suncoast.
- Impact-resistant windows and manufactured shutters are the preferred ways to protect your home.
- If pre-made shutters aren't an option, use plywood that's at least 3/4 of an inch thick.
- If you own a concrete block home, install anchoring devices for the roof.
- Don't forget about your garage door. This can be the most vulnerable area of your home when a hurricane hits. If possible, work with a professional garage door installer to retrofit your door to meet current hurricane codes. Most home supply stores sell garage door bracing kits.
- Buy plastic tarps that you can use after the storm if you have roof damage.
- Stock up on batteries for radios, flashlights and portable lights.
- Keep in mind, many stores will sell out of the materials you need to protect your home when the area is under a hurricane watch or warning. Everything you can do BEFORE the storm will give you more time to get ready and more peace of mind.
Here's what you need to know to protect your home in the few days or hours before a hurricane strikes:
- Pick up everything around your home that could become airborne and bring it inside. That includes all outdoor furniture, potted plants, yard tools, garbage cans, etc.
- Clear your home's gutters to handle the heavy rain.
- Protect your insurance and other important documents in sealable, plastic bags.
- Charge your cell phone batteries.
- Fill up your car with gas and portable gas cans if you own a generator.
What you need to do if you plan to stay at your home through the storm:
- Stock up on water, non-perishable food, prescriptions, first aid kit, and cash. Basically anything and everything you'll need to survive in the days after the storm when electricity will be out and finding supplies will be a challenge.
- Choose an interior room in your home that can serve as your safe room.
- Have a battery powered radio.
- Have flashlights and battery powered lights ready.
- Make sure the storm has passed before you go outside and it's not the eye of the hurricane.
- Remember that many injuries happen AFTER the storm during the clean up process.
The Bottom Line:
- After the storm can be the most stressful part of a hurricane.
- Be safe, be patient and help your neighbors.
- When a hurricane threatens, hope for the best and prepare for the worst!