Hurricanes can produce very dangerous conditions, of which the east coast is no stranger to. These can include:
- Heavy rainfall
- High winds more than 155 mph
- Flying debris
And much more.
Hurricanes are notorious for damaging the homes and property of those unprepared for their arrival and flying debris that could have been secured is often the cause of injuries during these massive storms.
Therefore, it is wise not to wait until a hurricane comes your way but rather prepare ahead of time with these tips:
Stock Up on Supplies and Create a Plan
If a hurricane does hit, and your power is out, you’ll want to have roughly three days of supplies for every member of the household stocked up. This can include but is not limited to:
- Dried or canned foods
- Any medications
- First-Aid materials
After you have the supplies necessary to sustain you and your family in the event of massive damage or long-lasting power outages, you’ll want to create a plan.
You and your family should know in advance where to go if a hurricane comes. This should include a safe evacuation route inland, the location of official shelters, and a safe off-site place to meet in the event you are separated. Don’t forget to plan for any pets or medical conditions as well!
Make evacuating a priority if you live in one of these high-risk properties:
- Near a river or flood plain
- Mobile or manufactured home
- On a coastline or offshore island
- In a high-rise
Now that we’ve got the most important part of the home (you and your family) taken care of, let’s dive into some of the home prep guidance designed to protect your property and others.
It is no secret that water and electricity don’t mix. Therefore, in the case of a hurricane, it is smart to unplug all electronics, even if you have a surge protector. This is the best protection against any surge-related damage.
Additionally, you should consider buying a generator in case of long-term power outages. It does not have to be the pricey, whole-house version with all the bells and whistles but having one that’s big enough to run a refrigerator and plug in a few essentials will make life much easier. Consider what you can and can’t live without for a few days and select the model that’s best for you.
Cover or Brace Windows
As previously mentioned, flying debris is a common cause of injury and property damage during hurricanes. It is important to cover all windows before the storm hits to not only avoid damage to your home, but also to protect you and your family from flying shards of broken glass.
You can purchase sheets of plywood from your local hardware store to fit over your windows. Make sure to measure your windows beforehand and pick up some brackets to hold the plywood in place.
Place Sandbags Around Your Entryways
While sandbags won’t be much help in the event of extreme storm surges, in most minor cases they will be able to prevent flooding and expensive damage to belongings.
Line your sandbags around any doors leading into your home. Because doors are only inches from the ground unless your home is built on a tall foundation, they will likely be the first place water seeps in during heavy rain and flooding. Sandbags will therefore provide a barrier between your home and the water outside.
Secure Your Yard
Do a quick walk around in your yard to take inventory of all things that could be affected by the winds of the storm.
Trim any trees, especially dead limbs, to prevent them from becoming projectiles. You should also round up any patio furniture, children’s toys, gardening tools, or other objects that could cause damage during a hurricane and secure them.
Making sure that nothing is loose in your yard is vital to the safety of you and your home.
Check in With Your Home Security Company
If your home is protected by a home security company, it would be wise to let them know of your plans to evacuate ahead of time. That way the company knows if any alarm goes off, you and your family are not present in or around the home.
You should also inquire into whether your equipment runs on battery backup. If it does, make sure those batteries are fresh before evacuating.
Check Your CO and Smoke Alarms
Make sure to check your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are working properly before evacuating. Both smoke alarms and CO detectors tend to be battery-powered and therefore you’ll want to make sure the batteries have been changed recently.
Carbon monoxide detectors are especially important in hurricanes. During power outages, many people use generators to keep power running in the home. Generators emit carbon monoxide which is a deadly colorless and odorless gas. Keep in mind that a generator should ONLY be operated outdoors, and never within the home.
Because of the widespread use of generators near the home during hurricanes, monitoring the levels of carbon monoxide is extremely important.
Secure Important Items and Documents
If there’s a chance your home could flood, you’ll want to scan any documents or photos you consider important, such as birth certificates, insurance documents, etc. onto a flash drive. Make sure to take the flash drive with you in the event of an evacuation.
Additionally, consider investing in a waterproof and fire-resistant safe to store other valuable items or keepsakes in. This could include family heirlooms, passports, cash, medications, or any other item you and your family deem valuable.