It's never too early to begin preparations.Take the necessary steps ahead of the hurricane's arrival to protect the home and contents.
SandbagsWhen an official warning is declared, the city makes sand, shovels and bags available to city residents (with proof of residence through a driver's license). Learn about sandbag availability.
Securing Homes and Yards
Windows and Doors
There's a misconception among consumers that if the windows are OK, then the house will be OK, but you'll need to protect the windows, the patio doors, entry doors, garage doors and roof. If the skin stays intact, the chance of the house staying intact is much greater.
Wind entering a house through a broken window or garage door will weaken the integrity of the structure. When a window blows and wind enters the house, it has no place to go but up, which may result in a lost roof. The goal is to keep the wind out.
One of the most overlooked areas is the garage door, which is very likely the weakest area.
When high winds cause the garage doors to give way, a good portion of the home is exposed. Then, wind that enters the home forces the roof to blow out.
You have to have some way to secure the sides of the door, and brace the center, so it doesn't buckle. Braces are available that can help to strengthen the doors. Lumber braces can be constructed at home as well.
It may be best to install a new garage door that is hurricane-rated. They may be pricier than others, and probably should be installed professionally for best protection, but would provide invaluable protection.
Cost is often a factor when homeowners choose window and door protection.
The minimum thickness for plywood for window and door covering should be five-eighths inch.
Steel shutters are the best method for protecting your home. Basically it becomes an issue of money, installation, maintenance and aesthetics. You have to consider the type of windows you have and what you have to protect.
Homeowners should be sure their removable shutters are in good shape. Have them numbered so you know which windows go where.
In and Around the House
Keeping the house in good repair is advised and so is checking the roof for loose shingles.
Check outside your home for trees or shrubs that need to be trimmed or appear weak. Don't trim near power lines. Call a professional for this potentially dangerous work.
Many people don't even think about the wind turbines that dot their roofs. They're very vulnerable to being blown off during high winds and will leave a gaping hole for rain to come in. It is suggested that you buy caps that can be installed when a hurricane threatens.
Having the turbines replaced with a different style of vent that has a lower profile is advised.
Keep a roll of plastic or some plastic garbage bags on hand, so that valuable items such as furniture and computers can be protected during the storm if a leak occurs.
Check insurance policies to be sure they're up to date and coverage is adequate, notes the Florida Department of Consumer Services in its "Are You Prepared? A Hurricane Checklist for Insurance Consumers.''
"Be sure your policy covers the value of your home and its contents," says the pamphlet, "If not, consider increasing the coverage."