For those that live in coastal areas the knowledge of how to prepare your house for a hurricane is not as common as one might think, as witnessed by the thousands of homes destroyed annually. Not all of these structures that absorb damage are poorly constructed – many are either neglected in the hurricane preparation stage entirely or fall victim to haphazard measures applied as the hurricane approaches. The key to prepare your house for a hurricane is twofold, the first step being to assure that permanent features of your home are resistant to wind and water damage year-round. Following this, the second step is to initiate precautionary actions that can be quickly completed just prior to the storm.
A homeowner seeking to implement hurricane protection should begin by assessing their home’s vulnerability to receive damage in an objective manner, and then make corrections to factors that could become issues when a hurricane finally strikes.
One of the most frequent ways a home is damaged during a hurricane occurs when windows are broken and wind driven rain and debris can be blown indoors. While it is not always possible from a financial perspective, windows and other glass features of the home should be upgraded to that of break resistant status. The installation of permanent hurricane shutters when combined with the aforementioned safety glass represents the maximum window protection possible. While most homeowners may attempt to cover glass with plywood for protection, time may be lacking to do so and the availability of the plywood may be in short supply.
Gutters and Roofing
Gutters and roofing needs special attention also in hurricane season to minimize potential damage. Clean gutters and downspouts ensure that water can flow freely and be removed quickly – when these are clogged water can easily back up and get under roofing shingles to create roof leakage. To prepare your house for a hurricane requires that roofing be inspected by a professional every few years to ensure not only that the roofing materials are in good condition, but that the structural integrity of the roof components are adequate. Additionally, in hurricane zones roofing straps can be installed either temporarily or permanently to diminish the chances of losing the entire roof in extremely high winds.
To prepare your house for a hurricane also includes paying special attention to landscape features on the entirety of your property. Trees and shrubbery should be kept away from the home in hurricane zones as far as is possible and should be neatly trimmed regularly. Landscape materials such as small stones or gravel should be eliminated from your property completely, as during high winds they can become thousands of projectiles capable of inflicting physical injury or property damage.
Once all of these tasks have been attended to the next step to prepare your house for a hurricane is to complete the actions that can be accomplished quickly as the storm approaches. Trash cans, lawn furniture, and outdoor accessories such as decorative items, hanging plants, bird feeders, and barbecue grills need to be either placed inside or moved to a storage facility.
Inside The House
Inside the house, important documents and precious keepsakes small in size should be taken along when you finally leave home. Any possessions of value that can be placed on shelving should be moved to their new location, padded and wrapped in plastic to prevent damage in case of a roof leak. Larger furniture and electronic components when possible can be placed inside of interior rooms and away from windows, lifted onto coffee and end tables to protect from possible flood waters. Finally, to prepare your house for a hurricane requires that all utilities be shut off whenever possible.