Here are steps you can take to protect your home from damage from a hurricane or tropical storm.
Although the necessary hurricane season preparedness levels vary, there are actions you can take now to prepare your home and family for a hurricane, such as creating a family emergency plan, getting your financials in order, and retrofitting your home.
Preparing your home ahead of time for a hurricane can minimize its impact and save you a lot of headaches (leftover storm debris, however, is inevitable.)
Whether your live somewhere that’s regularly hit with hurricanes or just every once and a while, experts suggest starting to prepare your home well before hurricane season, which is generally between June 1st and November 30th of every year.
Here’s what to prepare in advance to protect your property from hurricane damage, and bonus tips on other things you can do to be hurricane ready.
What to Prepare for Hurricane Season:
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7 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season
High-speed winds associated with hurricanes and tropical storms launch loose items from yards such as landscaping, patio furniture, and even trampolines, several feet at high speeds, demolishing neighboring structural elements including windows and doors.
A lot of the property damage caused by such storms, however, happens after the wind has settled. Rain and flood water can enter your home through doors, broken windows, and gaps in the roof.
As hurricane season approaches, updating your home’s weak points can prepare it against severe weather. You can perform renovations to protect your home from hurricanes in stages to ease some of the expenses. Plus, it will save you money and stress in the long run.
Here are steps for how to prepare your house for a hurricane or tropical storm:
- Replace landscaping materials like gravel and other rock elements with shredded bark. Mulch is much lighter and softer than rock, so it won’t cause as much harm.
- Trim back shrubbery and weak tree branches that could damage your home, as well as having any dead trees removed.
- Install storm shutters or fit some “DIY” plywood panels to protect your windows from being broken; these can quickly be nailed to the frames before a hurricane.
- Check if your exterior doors are hurricane-proof; they should have a deadbolt lock that is at least 1” long and should have at least three hinges each.
- Ensure your sliding glass doors are made of tempered glass and cover them with shutters or plywood. Because they are made primarily of glass, sliding doors are more susceptible to damage from high winds.
- Replace any old garage doors with a newer system that features impact and wind pressure protection. This prevents your garage door from flying open and allowing wind through, which could severely damage your roof and other parts of your home.
- Seal outside wall openings like vents, outdoor electrical outlets, places where cables or pipes run through the wall. To securely prevent any water penetration or leakage, be sure to use a quality, urethane-based caulk.
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Other Things You Can Do to Be Hurricane Ready
It’s important to keep in mind that these storms aren’t only a threat for those who live near the beach, in an evacuation zone, or areas that are prone to flooding.
Hurricanes and tropical storms pose a real threat to coastal and inland areas alike, causing severe weather like heavy rain, storm surge, flash flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes.
While we may not be able to control the weather and prevent hurricanes from happening, there are steps that can be taken to prepare for a severe weather event to ensure better safety and easier recovery from such a storm.
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1. Create a Family Emergency Plan
This first thing you want to know when preparing for hurricane season is how you and your family will communicate with each other in the event of a disaster.
During such events families can become separated, with unreliable cellular networks and power outages making it impossible to communicate with one another as you normally would.
This is why it’s important to have a plan in place to know how to contact each other and where to meet up in an emergency situation and not entirely rely on cell phones.
Pay attention to your current evacuation routes and plan to either take it together or meet somewhere safe.
2. Make Financial Preparations
If you’ve just lost everything you own to a hurricane or tropical cyclone, the last thing you want to worry about is money.
Setting aside a special savings account along with solid insurance before hurricane season helps you to recover from a natural disaster quicker than you would without.
Get organized now and make sure you have an emergency kit or briefcase storing important documents ranging from personal, financial, medical, and more.
Make copies of these documents and store them in a safe place that isn’t at risk of being blighted during a storm.
Having these documents readily available will be vital to begin the recovery process quickly and smoothly, which will bring you some peace of mind during an unimaginably stressful time.
You should also review your insurance policies to make sure you have the right coverage in the event of a hurricane or other destructive storm.
You will want to have a policy that insures your home’s structure and your belongings, and that also provides coverage for any additional living expenses due to a disaster.
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3. Prepare a Hurricane Disaster Kit
Having a hurricane disaster kit stocked and stored somewhere easily within reach can literally be life-saving in the case of tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and other natural disasters.
Prepare your hurricane survival supplies before you even hear about one is brewing and avoid the frantic and crowded run to the grocery store with everyone else and their mother.
Supplies to place in your hurricane disaster kit:
- First Aid Kit
- Nonperishable food
- Rain Poncho
- NOAA Weather Radio
- Emergency Blanket
- Personal Hygiene Items
Preparing for Hurricane Season During a Pandemic
Getting hurricane ready in 2022 is largely the same, but there are a few extra steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 in the event of a hurricane disaster.
1. Since home delivery is the safest choice for buying hurricane disaster supplies, order your supplies way in advance as there’s likely to be a delay.
2. If delivery isn’t an option, limit how often you go out by buying in bulk, reduce visits to the pharmacy by signing up for mail-order prescriptions, or use curbside pickup services.
3. Keep up with your local government for updated evacuation plans and shelters, including shelters for your pets.
4. When checking on the safety of your neighbors and friends follow social distancing (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
Staying Safe During Hurricane Season
Hurricanes and tropical storms not only damage property but can destroy lives as well. Making sure you’re prepared for hurricane season can greatly reduce the impact of a natural disaster on you and your family’s lives.
Take action now to make sure you and your loved ones are protected. Do not wait until a hurricane watch is issued. By then, it may already be too late.
Remember, the most valuable thing at stake is your life and the lives of your family.
No matter what you choose to do to prepare for hurricane season, prioritize keeping you and your family safe throughout this hurricane season.
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