SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -
Hurricane preparedness week continues with today's focus on strengthening your home. If you plan to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Take any extra time you may have while social distancing to make the necessary improvements.
"The first thing I would recommend is to do a simple assessment. Are there loose tree limbs hanging in trees? Is there a tree kind hanging over? Do you have loose tiles on your roof? So, you can do that assessment by just walking around,” says Scott Hamblen, Chief Merchandising Officer at Crowder Ace Hardware.
There is a lot you can do around your home to protect it from hurricanes. You can cut trees that are weak and hanging close to your home.
Consider installing stronger windows and exterior doors. If replacing windows and exterior doors is not feasible, install the hardware needed to put up shutters to protect windows and exterior doors, including garage doors from damaging winds.
Inspect your roof and overhang to look for signs of wear or damage and repair if necessary. Also have your roof inspected to make sure the roof sheathing is well connected.
Remove any loose items you may have on the porch or surrounding your home that could act as a projectile. Move your vehicle to a safe location.
Make sure caulking around windows and doors is in good shape and not cracked, broken, or missing, and fill any holes or gaps around pipes or wires that enter your building. This will reduce the risk of leaks from wind-driven rain.
"Windows are vulnerable area both from a wind perspective, also from a water perspective. People don't think about water that could come through the sides of the windows," says Nigel Pilling, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Manager.
It is important to anchor down or secure loose outdoor items in order to prevent potential projectiles, which could pierce through windows or parts of the home.
"If you got some trees that are a little close to the house, could you trim those trees? The other item is really any outside furniture, including chairs and tables," says Pilling.
Determine if you live in a flood prone area. This could mean additional protection may be needed to protect your residence.
“The traditional method would be sandbags, which you would fill with sand or dirt and it would prevent it. There are also other water barrier products that you can put around your home or around your garage door,” says Hamblen.
Once preparations have been made, ask yourself, is my house ready for hurricane season?
Ed McCrane, Emergency Management Chief of Sarasota County states, “We want people to think of it as the evacuation centers being the lifeboat, and not the cruise ship. People need to try and seek shelter with friends or family whenever possible in a safe home and outside of the evacuation area."