Batten Down the Hatches! 5 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Homeowners
Don’t let all the wisecracks about this year’s comically named Hurricane Fabio (which didn’t make contact with the coast, but just “caressed it softly”) stop you from taking hurricane preparedness seriously.
From the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Gulf Coast, more than 37 million Americans are in direct line for these storms. If you’re in this zone—or anywhere along the coast, really securing your home and putting together a stash of hurricane supplies can pay big dividends once those gale-force winds hit.
Make sure to incorporate these five tips into your hurricane preparations:
1: Batten down the hatches.
Hurricane straps can help prevent your roof from literally blowing off. Made from galvanized metal, these straps connect the roof to the walls of your home and distribute your home’s weight onto the foundation, effectively “tying” your house together to withstand the winds.
2: Stop windows from shattering.
Hurricane shutters are the best protection for windows. Choose shutters made from 5/8” plywood or metal, and be sure that they fully cover the window. Can taping an “X” on your windows make them shatter resistant? Sorry, but that’s one storm safety myth that will leave you with a lot of broken glass! Tape does not prevent windows from shattering.
3: Clean up the landscaping.
Even a hurricane classified as a Category One can cause extensive damage: knocking diseased or dead tree branches into your home and uprooting small trees. Reduce your risk by pruning back an overgrown landscape and removing dead or diseased tree limbs. Be sure to clear debris from gutters and downspouts too (and reinforce any loose connections you find).
4: Do a home inventory.
Can you produce a list of all your possessions (and an estimate of their worth) if your stuff is damaged or destroyed in a storm? For most homeowners, the answer is no. Go from room to room with a camera to jot down details and document the contents of your home. Doing so will take the edge off the recovery process if you ever have to make a claim.
5. Stock an emergency supply kit.
Picking up a few extra items on each run to the grocery store is a smart way to build up an emergency kit. At the minimum, you need a two-week supply of water and non-perishable food (think tuna, peanut butter and beef jerky) for each member of your household. Beef that up with a battery-powered radio and flashlight, some personal hygiene items, a first aid kit, essential medicines, and some emergency cash, and you have the beginnings of a decent disaster kit.
Of course, there’s a lot more you can do to protect your family and home against a hurricane. But don’t wait to see what creative name hurricane watchers give to the next storm that forms—your hurricane preparations should start now. Have you survived a hurricane? What hurricane preparedness tips can you share?
Guest blogger Pauline Hammerbeck is an editor for the Allstate blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.