In our previous blog, Sheltering in Place, we covered how to prepare quickly to shelter in place during a hurricane. This article will give you five steps to take to prepare your home in advance to minimize damage.
Sealing and protecting all doors and windows is one of the most critical steps to take before a hurricane arrives. You will want to inspect each window and check for air leaks. One way to do this is by using a candle - check out more tips in this article, How to Seal Windows (DIY Network). Also, be sure to close and lock all openings before boarding and reinforcing. This is a simple step but is often overlooked during last-minute preparations. To protect your windows, you can use plywood, hurricane film, high impact glass, or shutters. Check out how to do this yourself in this clip from ABC Action News ahead of 2017’s Hurricane Irma.
A simple and affordable way to reinforce your doors is with a bolt kit. Bolt kits can be purchased at hardware stores and usually cost around or under $50.
Places to check include wall outlets, vents in the kitchen, and bathrooms. Check around wall lights and any entry points for wires, pipes, or cables. Even 1 inch of water can be incredibly costly to repair, so keeping things as sealed tight as possible could save thousands of dollars in damage.
Check the roof for old or dry shingles as they can rip away quickly and then pull other shingles with it. Use roof cement to reinforce the shingles by applying it under each tab. It is a simple process similar to sealing your windows, but you will need to be careful to get up and down a ladder safely. Additional steps and upgrades for protecting your roof include placing metal roof straps and using impact resistant shingles. Another option is to get your roof inspected professionally at least once a year.
Inspect the surrounding area of your home for items that could turn into projectiles, including children’s toys, bikes, barbecues, landscaping materials, and weak branches. Bring all possible debris inside the garage and secure it. Don’t forget to check for weak branches, trim trees, and shrubbery and cut them down and secure them.
Purchase high-quality waterproof containers, so if the storm makes an impact, you can quickly put your valuables away. Before the storm, make a list of items that need to be put away for protection, as the stress of the weather can cloud your thinking and cause you to forget critical things. Photos, key documents, and other information can be stored digitally in the cloud as a backup as well, whereas family heirlooms and expensive electronics can be quickly stored in the containers and placed in a safe location in your house.
Taking these 5 steps in advance of a hurricane can significantly minimize the damage incurred by a storm.
To view more preparation and safety tips for hurricane season, check out our Survival Tips playlist on YouTube!