Preparing early for a severe weather event like a hurricane is key because many of the most important preparation steps cannot be done at the last minute. Furthermore, once a hurricane is reported, homeowners will be competing for a limited supply of critical materials and resources such as gasoline, generators, tarps, boards, and bottled water. Taking proper precautions, collecting emergency supplies and creating a family evaculation plan are just a few ways homeowners can remove a little stress from an inherently stressful situation.
Outside the home exterior furniture or art that could become dangerous projectiles should be moved inside or secured with cables or netting. Before the season begins homeowners should be sure that trees and other outdoor landscaping are trimmed so that no branches are hanging over the home or vehicles that could fall and cause severe damage or even personal injury. An inspection by an arborist can help identify unhealthy tree branches and remove them.
In the event of a storm, homeowners should close and lock all windows and doors, reinforcing windows with shutters and adding heavy-duty hinges and deadbolts to entry doors. The garage door, in particular needs to be braced. Hurricane rated doors are best, but if not present, at least back your car up against the interior of the garage door to help support it.
When it comes to valuable items in the home, such as rugs or art, move these items away from windows and to upper floors if possible. Have prepared copies of important personal and financial documents, and secure these in a safe, alternate location to ensure they survive the storm.
Keeping a “go bag” prepared with a change of clothes, prescription medications, food and water, flashlights, a portable radio with extra batteries is extremely helpful in the event of an emergency.
Your family’s safety should always come first. Agree on an evacuation plan, emergency communication procedures and a rendezvous point in case you get separated.