Unfortunately, hurricane season is a part of life for Floridians, and we know that massive storms can devastate your home and your family. While you can’t prevent a hurricane from hitting the area, you can prepare your home to handle the strain of the strong winds and flooding that typically comes with a hurricane.
It’s important to know you need to prepare your home, and your family, for four main issues that will occur during a hurricane: powerful winds, flooding, overwhelming downpours, and power outages. With those in mind, you can work to prepare your home to withstand a storm’s destruction better than in the past:
- Make sure all gutters and drains on your home are clear of any obstructions. Attaching downspouts to your gutters can help direct water away from your home.
- You also want to make sure your yard and trees are well maintained—dead limbs or piles of leaves can easily be blown onto your gutters and drains, clogging them and disabling their ability to gather and flush water away from your home.
- If your home has a crawlspace or basement, they need to be waterproofed to battle against flooding coming into your home. Sump pumps should be installed, with backup batteries on board in case of power outages to help remove any standing water that can cause damage to your home. If you are in a particular area that tends to flood, start gathering sandbags before hurricane season comes around and consider creating a perimeter around your home with them to help block the floodwaters from coming into your home.
- If your home doesn’t have functioning storm shutters, consider a weekend project to install them on every window of your home. These will help protect windows from the powerful force of the winds. If you cannot add storm shutters to your home, invest in plywood and be prepared to cover your windows and doorways by nailing plywood over any openings.
- Stock up on high-quality large tarps, so you have them on hand in case the strong winds damage your roof. While you’ll still have to wait to patch the hole until the storm has passed, having that on hand will expedite the temporary solution until you can contact your insurance company and a reputable roofing company.
- Take inventory and set up a location for loose outdoor items such as table umbrellas, outdoor furniture, and toys. Tie these down to something heavier and more permanent, or move them into your garage when a storm is coming. Clean the area around your air conditioning unit and purchase plywood to cover it, helping to prevent any damage from flying debris.
- Before a storm hits, turn your air conditioning system off to avoid any internal damage.
In case of evacuation, have suitcases packed and ready to go and have a plan for your pets. If you plan to ride out the storm, make sure you have plenty of flashlights and batteries, candles, non-perishable food, bottled water, generators, and gasoline (stored safely outside, of course) at your disposal. Be careful walking around the outside of your home, keeping an eye open for downed power lines, broken glass or boards, or any other dangerous debris. Follow guidelines set by the American Red Cross for checking your home for damage and what to do if you evacuate.