Preparing Your Home:
Every year, Florida is at risk for potentially deadly storms. Although there is nothing that you can do to prevent a hurricane, you can greatly minimize the damage that your residence may suffer by following a few easy steps.
The best way to protect yourself during hurricane season is to STAY INFORMED. Purchase a Weather Radio, sign up for CodeRED Emergency Notification System, and register to receive weather alerts from your favorite local news station.
DON’T ASSUME THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE FROM FLORIDA AND HAVE BEEN THROUGH A FEW HURRICANES, THAT YOU KNOW EVERYTHING! This type of thinking can be your worst enemy!
Get prepared ahead of time. There is nothing worse than waiting until a hurricane is declared to rush out, along with everyone else in Central Florida, to begin stocking up. The big question you have to answer ahead of time is: Who's going to install the plywood covers, maybe with a 30 mph wind gusting, as a storm approaches? It's probably a sure bet it's not going to be your 70-year-old mother, by herself.
Secure Your Windows. Broken windows can let in wind and rain, and they can also increase the pressure under the roof.
Why is protecting windows so important?
Once a window is broken, the wind blows inside to not only wreck the interior, but also to apply upward pressure on the roof, which might be enough to send it flying. If this happens, the walls could collapse and cause catastrophic structural failure.
Check Doors. Make sure that there are no screws missing in the hinges and your locks are secure.
Reinforce Garage Doors. Because garage doors are often flimsy and cover a large area, they’re particularly vulnerable to wind gusts. Be sure that the track of your garage door is at least 14-gauge weight—check the owner’s manual or look for markings on the track—and is securely mounted with several screws.
Protect Your Roof. Roofs, particularly roofs on older homes that don’t meet the latest building codes, are especially susceptible to wind damage and water infiltration.
Trim Your Trees. Make sure that there are not any dead sections on your trees threatening the home. Broken limbs could land on your (or your neighbor’s) house or become missiles that can break windows during a storm.
Protect Your Pool. Don’t drain it. Leave it full. Add some extra chlorine in case the lack of electricity deprives your pump of power for several days after the storm passes. Cover the pool if possible.
Take Inventory. The last thing you want to be doing after you’ve been affected by a hurricane is to try to remember everything you had in the house. Having an inventory list will make the process of getting through the claim and getting back to normal so much easier.
Update Your Insurance. Make sure you have the right amount of insurance, and fill in a few key gaps in coverage.
Manufactured Homes. At the start of hurricane season, manufactured homes should be securely anchored with sufficient numbers of the proper tie-downs. The proper skirting can make the difference between a place to go home to and something out of the Wizard of Oz. A manufactured home can be a dangerous place to be when winds reach hurricane force.