Over the last few years, the U.S. has certainly seen its share of damaging and costly hurricanes. For anyone living in a vulnerable area, hurricanes are a threat not only to your safety but also to your home and community. Unfortunately, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that 2022 will offer us no respite from the storms and that there’s a 90 percent chance that this hurricane season will be near or above normal.
If you’re a homeowner living in an area that could be affected by a hurricane, it’s important to make sure that both you and your home are prepared to make it through a destructive storm. Preparing for a storm early can help you to minimize risk and reduce damage to your home. With hurricane season having started on June 1, now is the time to start your emergency preparations. To help you, we’ve created this guide on the steps you can take to give you and your home the best chance to get through a hurricane safely and securely.
Prepared to Stay But Ready to Go
Step one in hurricane preparedness is to make sure your home is stocked with enough supplies to ride out a storm, if necessary. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you do so in the form of a kit with enough supplies for each family member to survive for at least three days in an emergency. Your kit should include at least:
One gallon of potable water per person per day, lasting at least three days
A three-day supply of non-perishable foods (canned goods, peanut butter, etc.)
A battery-powered or hand-cranked weather radio with extra batteries
A flashlight with extra batteries
A fully-stocked first aid kit
If possible, your emergency items should be stored in duffel bags or other portable containers so you’ll be ready to evacuate, if necessary. For a complete list of necessary and optional items to keep in your emergency kit, FEMA has created a printable list, which you can find here.
Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season
Once you’ve seen to your personal survival needs, it’s time to take steps to get your home ready for the coming storm.
First, it’s important to make sure that all gutters and drains are clear, unobstructed, and in good working order so that they can perform at maximum efficiency during the storm. Many hurricanes, such as 2017’s hurricane Harvey, do most of their damage through flooding—not wind.
Next, you should secure or store any items outside your home that might be carried off by high winds. That means moving garbage cans, bicycles, outdoor furniture and any other non-permanent fixtures into a garage or other protected area.
Indoors, you should be careful to secure all doors and windows to make sure that wind and water don’t find a way through to the interior of your home.
Unplug as many appliances as is practical to prevent them from suffering damage if the storm causes power fluctuations. If you have any important documents or items on the lower floors of your home that would be destroyed by floodwaters, move them to higher ground if possible.
Ready For Anything
It’s important to realize that true hurricane preparedness isn’t something that you can accomplish in a few days. That’s why it is arguably even more important to take a systemic approach that will keep your home and belongings safe for years. Make sure that you carry comprehensive flood insurance to cover any water damage, as most general homeowner’s insurance policies will not. If your home is in an area prone to storms, consider retrofitting it to meet hurricane safety standards as soon as possible. Doing so is the best way to make sure your home won’t suffer catastrophic damage if a strong storm hits your neighborhood.
Most importantly, recognize that you and your family are the most important part of your home and that your lives are more valuable than any of your possessions. If you are instructed to evacuate by the local authorities, please do so as quickly and safely as possible. There’s no insurance or structural reinforcement that can bring back a loved one, so make sure that the physical safety of everyone in your home is always your top priority.
If you’re looking to upgrade your home’s structure to help withstand a hurricane, or just working through items on your maintenance list like roof repairs or weatherstripping, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find all of the products your home needs to weather any storm at any of our locations, along with a friendly and helpful staff to help you plan to get the job done. We’ll stand with you in any weather.