Ten Ways To Prepare Your Home For A Hurricane

Don’t let the recent cooler temperatures fool you. Tampa is still in the middle of hurricane season. As evidenced by last year’s “Super Storm Sandy”, deadly hurricanes can still develop well into the Fall.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season spans from June 1st to November 30th, so we have a few weeks left to go until we can breathe a sigh of relief. While the worst of this season is hopefully behind us, you should consider what next year may bring. Whether you believe in global warming or attribute the recent spike in storm activity to happenstance, you need to protect yourself and your family.

Tips To Hurricane-Proof Your Home

  1. Secure your doors and windows. Don’t for a moment believe the old myth that taping your windows will protect them. Tape will not stop a piece of debris traveling 120 mph from breaking a window. If it could, do you really think you could tear tape with your bare hands? If you don’t have impact-resistant windows, you should consider investing in shutters. If not, covering windows with plywood is an option, but it’s pretty labor intensive. To make this process faster and easier, you may consider a product like PlyLox. PlyLox steel clips provide quick attachment of plywood to the exterior of your home without screws or nails.
  2. Keep your yard clear of debris. This means trimming dead tree branches ahead of time. Bring in any potted plants, bird baths and other unattached objects from your yard. If you have a pool (and pool furniture), you may think about tossing the chairs into the pool. Do NOT toss any glass furniture in the pool. Ladders, trash cans, pink yard flamingos and anything else that isn’t bolted down should be brought inside.
  3. Your garage door may be a weak spot. Double-check the installation of your garage door to make sure it is able to withstand hurricane-force winds. If it isn’t, brace it to prevent it from becoming part of your living room.
  4. Help your gutters do their job. If your gutters are clogged, they won’t be able to channel away water from your home as effectively. All of that water has to go somewhere and you don’t want that place to be your attic. Clear your gutters of leaves and other debris. The same goes for the downspouts.
  5. If you’ve been watching the tv show, “Revolution”, you can understand what the world would be like without electricity. Having a generator can be a great comfort after a storm. You may be without power for days or even weeks. A generator may enable you to keep the lights on, run a fan or keep the food from spoiling in the refrigerator. Please remember to NEVER run a generator indoors. The carbon monoxide fumes can be deadly.
  6. Water, it’s not just for drinking. Fortunately, bottled water is fairly easy to get. The general rule is one gallon per person, per day. People usually remember the drinking water, but what most people forget is that we also use water to flush the toilet. Before the storm hits, fill your bathtub with water. If the need should arise that you need to flush and the water main is broken, the “flushable” water is right there. Just take a pot or bucket, dip it into the tub and use it to fill up the top tank of the toilet. It may not be glamorous, but it beats the alternative.
  7. Survival basics. Canned food (and a can opener) are essential. Foods that don’t require refrigeration are key. So are medications, first-aid supplies, flashlights and batteries. If you have pets, don’t forget about them. They’ll need their food as well.
  8. Charge it! Remember to charge your cell phone before the storm. For anyone who still has a landline phone in their home (I think there are four of you), getting your hands on one of those old-style, no frills, non-electric phones may be a good idea.
  9. Stay informed. Battery-operated TV’s and radios seem to be priced more reasonably outside of the storm season. Go figure? Grab some batteries too. They never seem to have them included. Don’t forget an HDTV adapter so your portable TV can pull in the latest weather updates.
  10. Gas up your car. Gas pumps needs electricity to work. During a power-outage, even if the pumps are full, you won’t be able to fill up. Do this well ahead of the storm. In the event you have to evacuate quickly, you’ll be able to put distance between yourself and the storm.

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