If you’ve just moved near a coast, you know hurricanes come with the territory. But you might not know what you need to do to prepare for the storms. Here is a beginner’s overview of home hurricane preparation.
Start with the Outside
During a hurricane, your home is going to be hit with strong winds and any debris those winds are flinging around. If your windows get penetrated, the winds will be able to enter your home and cause structural damage (like blowing the roof off). There are two main ways to keep from losing your windows.
Storm shutters are your first option. Shutters typically come in metal or plywood varieties. According to USA Today, wooden shutters should be made of marine plywood at least ¾” thick, and need to be cut to fit each window. Remember, the time to install these shutters is before the hurricane is upon you!
Your next option is to install laminated glass or plastic glazed windows. These impact windows, like the windows sold at Storm Shield LLC in Cape Coral, FL, are specially manufactured to be able to withstand the impact of flying debris without shattering. The strength of the windows will also protect your home from burglars once the storm has passed.
Doors, including garage doors, are also weak points on the exterior of your home. Make sure you install doors that can withstand strong winds and torrents of rain.
Don’t Forget the Yard
Part of preparing your home for a hurricane is making sure nothing around it will pose a threat. Here are some precautionary measures to take with your yard:
- Trim any dead or week tree branches and/or trees. Consider removing large trees that are growing near your home or cars if you think they might get knocked over. Do this at the beginning of hurricane season every year.
- Put in the garage anything that can be picked up by 100-mile-an-hour winds. This includes garbage cans, patio furniture, lawn decorations, toys, and so on.
- At the beginning of hurricane season, consider replacing gravel or rock landscaping features with shredded bark or other materials that won’t damage your home if picked up by the wind.
- Consider installing a chain link fence (also called “hurricane fence,” and for good reason). Since wind can blow through a chain link fence, it is less likely to fall over or be picked up and slammed into your home.
- You may want to also install a hurricane-proof mailbox.
Inside Your Home
Once the exterior of your home has been fortified, it’s time to turn your attention to the inside. Inside preparations will focus mostly on sustaining you and your family while you are waiting out a storm. Load up on emergency preparedness supplies like drinking water, food storage, clean clothing, and a grab bag in case you have to evacuate.
Here are some of the things to put in your grab bag:
- important documents including birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, insurance policies, and so on
- a change of clothing—including a warm jacket and undergarments
- personal hygiene items
- food and drinking water
- a flashlight
- first aid supplies
- cash and ID cards
- emergency blanket and poncho
Plan for a lack of power while you are waiting out a hurricane. Make sure you have plenty of flashlights with extra batteries. Also stock up on drinking water just in case you lose access to running water. Even if you have shutters and/or impact resistant windows, stay in a room that has no windows to avoid injury if your windows shatter. Move important belongings to the upper levels of your home to avoid damage from potential flooding.
Hurricanes are a force of nature not to be reckoned with. However if you live near a coast, you have no choice. Increase your home’s chances of surviving a hurricane by following these tips.
Meghan is a freelance writer from Oklahoma. She enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons.