Disaster Prep

How to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Summer is hurricane season. Follow these tips to prepare your home for hurricane season and increase your odds of limiting damage to your property.

Tips for Protecting Your Home and Family During Hurricane Season

Mid-to-late summer is hurricane season and if the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that hurricanes aren’t restricted to Florida. In 2012 during the last week of October, Hurricane Sandy was so strong that it produced a swath of destruction all the way up the eastern coastline.

As a result, if you live anywhere near the eastern coastline, protecting your family and preparing your home are essential for weathering the dangers of a strong seasonal hurricane. Here are some tips that help ensure you’re ready, because the hurricanes will come.


Family Hurricane Preparation Tips

When a hurricane hits, things can get very chaotic very quickly. You should have a family emergency communication plan in place. Here’s a sample plan that you can download, courtesy of FEMA. Everyone in your family should know where to go.

If your area gets evacuated often for strong storms, make sure you know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) and have a plan in place so you have a place to stay, such as with family, friends or in a hotel. If necessary, contact your local emergency management agency for more information.

If you live in an area that isn’t ordered to evacuate, and you want to tough it out at home, make sure you are prepared. You may not be able to leave your home because roads may be closed due to flooding and you may wind up being without electricity for several days.

Therefore, before the hurricane hits, you should have a complete disaster supply kit. This kit should include things like water bottles, a first aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries, a battery-run radio, cans of food and other slow-to-perish foods. You should also keep a copy of your family emergency information list just in case you do have to wind up evacuating.

Lastly, if you live in or are moving to an area where hurricanes are a risk, then set your smartphone’s weather app to notify you of any weather alerts or warnings in your area. You can also check to see if your community has a text alert system in place for notifying residents of such emergencies.


5 Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane

Wind is the biggest danger with a hurricane. The wind can become so strong that it can cause branches to fall and trees to topple. Therefore, before hurricane season starts, take the time to walk around your property and trim any damaged branches and remove any weak or ill-looking trees. This will help reduce your risk of having your home or autos damaged by falling branches or trees.

Hurricanes also bring incredible amounts of rain with them. And, if you don’t prepare your home to be able to handle the downpour, the water can wind up seeping into the home where it can cause substantial damage. To prep your home, clean out your rain gutters and downspouts, and if you find any loose gutters or downspouts along the way, secure them so they don’t get torn away by the winds.

A portable generator is also a good thing to have in your garage, or even better, you can have a whole-house generator installed so your house will be able to have power during outages. Keep any generators or other alternate power/heat sources outside the home and at least 20 feet away from any doors and windows.

Another smart investment is to retrofit and/or reinforce your roof with hurricane straps, all of the windows with shutters or sheets of drywall, and doors with head and foot bolts. And, don’t forget about securing the garage doors!

A hurricane can be a very scary storm event, especially if you’ve never experienced on before. The key to getting through it, however, is taking the measures to protect your home and family. Of course, there’s other thing you should do before a hurricane hits – assess your wind insurance policy and find out if you should have flood insurance or not.


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Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.

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