Author: Judy

How to Check Your House For Hurricane Preparedness

If you live in an area where hurricanes are common, take time to prepare your home far in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to stock up on needed supplies. Otherwise, you risk getting stuck in traffic and waiting in long lines.

Let’s take a look at how to best make sure your home is prepared for a hurricane’s heavy winds.

Prepare the Outside of Your Home

One of the best ways to protect the outside of your home is making use of impact-resistant shutters. However, before you put thousands of dollars into the installation process, ensure that you have a sturdy home. The reason for this is that you don’t want to get filled with a false sense of security.

Prior to impact-resistant shutter installation, have a structural engineer or certified building inspector inspect your home for whether:

  • The correct number of nails have been used on anchors
  • Hurricane straps & anchors are correctly anchored to the tie-beam
  • Roof sheathing panels have been attached correctly
  • Flashing, roof tiles and soffits are in solid condition

After it’s been determined that your home is solid, you can confidently install impact-resistant storm shutters. Here are other tips for preparing the outside of your home:

  • Brace and cover any door and window openings
  • If you have a pool, don’t completely drain it. Make allowances for heavy rain by draining six to 12 inches from it
  • Stow potted plants, grills, lawn furniture and any other objects that may blow away. Ask your neighbors to do the same thing
  • Disconnect any propane gas tanks from grills and put them in the house or garage. They become handy for cooking if you lose electricity
  • If you have an outdoor TV antenna, unplug the television before taking it down

Prepare Your Roof

No matter the type of your roof, hurricane codes require the use of hurricane straps to hold your roof to the walls. An older home can get retrofitted.

In past hurricanes, it was discovered that plywood sheathing wasn’t attached properly. One issue was the use of staples. Or, nails were correctly utilized but there wasn’t an adequate number of them used.

If you have rotary roof vents, these need to be removed and capped. Protect vents on gabled ends just like any window opening. Be careful not to cover plumbing vent stacks because they let any sewer gas to escape correctly.

Protect Your Garage Door

Take care to brace your garage door. Most garage doors have flimsy tracks. Even with quality hurricane shutters, your home will most likely break apart if the garage door is compromised.

You can brace the garage door by using 2 x 4 braces. One is sufficient for a single door while two or more are good for bigger garage doors. After bolting each brace to your door frame, attach them to the concrete floor with an “L” bracket.

Protect Your Windows

Covering all your windows with impact-resistant shutters is probably the one most important measure to take as you go about protecting your house from hurricane winds.

What to do Inside Your Home

  • At minimum, store at least one gallon of water per person, per day
  • Bring your freezer and refrigerator down to their coolest settings. You can keep them colder longer by placing frozen water jugs in them
  • Prepare a safe room with pillows, sleeping bags, snacks, chairs, drinking water and a battery-powered television or radio. Other important items include books, games and toys for children
  • Don’t fall prey to a myth that says you need to keep windows on one side open for equalizing pressure. Close all your windows
  • Fill drawers with as many loose objects as possible

Don’t get overwhelmed with everything you need to do when preparing your home for a hurricane. Take it step-by-step until everything is done and you feel ready.