Earlier this month we wrote about basic personal preparation (and see our owner newsletter for basic storm facts). Whether home owner or rental resident, there is something here for everyone to consider. There is still about 3 months to ponder and ultimately prepare (and not under pressure or panic!)
1. Doors, windows and skylights. Gale-force winds create flying debris that can act like bullets, easily passing through windows and sometimes doors. If you live in hurricane-prone areas, consider impact-resistant glass or shutters. Some shutters have a track system that allows you to store them while not in use; when a storm approaches, they’re fairly easy to install. Don’t overlook garage doors, either. They may need extra bracing to withstand high winds.
2. Landscaping. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed of dead branches; prune all trees back to keep a 10-foot safe zone around homes. Monitor any cracks or splitting in trees.
3. Eliminate flying objects. Before the storm, remove outside objects that can become airborne. Don’t assume patio furniture is heavy enough to withstand high winds. If they can’t be moved, then secure these outdoor objects as well as possible.
4. Seal tight against water damage. Close and lock doors and windows. Ensure gutters are debris-free and will carry water away from foundations
5. Exterior structure. Because hurricane-force winds can easily pull homes apart, starting at the roof, consider a construction fastening system. In hurricane-prone areas, install hurricane straps to strengthen roof-to-wall and wall-to-foundation connections. Properly brace roof trusses.
6. Get ready. Know first if you should be evacuating! Consider a portable generator to get through the storm’s aftermath. Keep basics on-hand: portable radio and plenty of fresh batteries, candles, water, non-refrigerated food and a first-aid kit. Make sure friends and loved ones know where you’re riding out the storm. Have an up-to-date inventory of your home and its belongings, using your smart phone’s video and photo capabilities, and upload these files to the cloud so that they can easily be retrieved.
Check this link for the 411 on hurricanes (especially if new to Florida!): https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes