Hurricanes are some of the most awe-inspiring forces in nature. We are all familiar with their tremendous destructive power that is only rivaled by that of earthquakes and tsunamis. From Hawaii to Maine and Texas, hurricanes bring fear and terror wherever they strike. They come with torrential rains, storm surges, floods and devastating winds. They leave in their wake a trail of destruction; destruction of our homes and with them our treasured keepsakes as well as loss of life and property. We now have reliable satellite systems that raise the alarm whenever a hurricane is imminent. Although we cannot stop hurricanes from striking every now and then, we can at least take some precautions to minimize their destructive effects and prevent loss of life and property. Here is how you can prepare your florida home for the hurricane season.
Protecting your Home from Hurricane Damage
First ensure that your home meets the building code requirements for hurricane protection. Building experts agree that homes that are built according to the recommendations of the building code are much better placed to survive in the event of violent storms. It’s a good idea to use a registered engineer or architect to advise when building your house. Keep the trees and shrubbery around the house trimmed. Cut off any trees and tree branches that are too close to the house and pose a danger of falling on the house.
When Building a House
When building your home, observe the following procedures:
- Windows – Install windows that are impact-resistant. Install impact-resistant shutters as well. These cover your windows and prevent any flying objects and debris from breaking your windowpanes.
- Entry Doors – Your windows should have at least 3 hinges securing them to the door frames. The door should have a dead-bolt security lock with the bolt not less than an inch long.
- Patio Doors – Sliding doors tend to be more vulnerable to damage by weather elements such as wind than other door types.
- Garage Doors – Garage doors are usually huge and their large surfaces offer plenty of area for winds to beat down upon. Install impact-resistant doors made of laminated glass or doors made from a combination of both plastic and glass. Whenever a hurricane is imminent, cover the entire door surface with plywood shutters or OSB (Oriented Strand Board).
- Roofs – For new roof replacements, ensure that the roof covering and its sheathing are robust and can withstand strong winds. The following should be performed by your roofing contractor:
1. Remove all old coverings leaving just the bare wood sheathing.
2. Remove some sheathing and check whether the trusses and rafters are secured to the walls.
3. Install a wind-resistant roof covering designed to withstand high winds.
4. Seal off sheathing joints using self-sticking rubberized asphalt tape. This provides a moisture barrier.
When Hurricanes Threaten
To improve your odds of surviving hurricane hits to your home, observe these precautions:
- Become familiar with the local community’s disaster preparedness arrangements and create your own family plan. Identify possible escape routes in case a hurricane strikes unexpectedly. Establish contact points that you can use to communicate with relatives and friends.
- Put together a comprehensive emergency kit that contains first aid supplies, 3-day water supply, emergency cooking equipment, flashlight, portable lanterns, prescription medication, an extra pair of house and car keys and important documents such as insurance policies.