I have lived in southwest Florida for 29 years and have seen my share of tropical storms and hurricanes. I will never forget 2004 and the 15 named storms that developed that year. Five of those storms hit my state and two of them, Charley and Frances, directly affected me and my family. We take preparing for all natural disasters very seriously, so seriously that I am a trained member of our county’s CERT team (Community Emergency Response Team).
I know not all of my readers live in hurricane prone areas, in this series of tips we will also cover information on floods, wildfires and tornadoes too. I feel that it is important to get the word out about what you can do now to protect your family in case a natural disaster strikes where you live.
In the interest of full disclosure, all of my tips are coming from the Institute for Business and Home Safety. My sister, Wendy Rose, is currently the Media Relations Manager for IBHS and she is my source for the information.
TOP 5 WAYS TO PROTECT HOMES FROM HURRICANES
The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has outlined five ways to better protect homes from damaging wind and rain this hurricane season.
1. Shutter all openings
2. Secure loose roof shingles
3. Seal openings, cracks and holes
4. Strengthen soffits
5. Survey surroundings
1-Shutter all openings
The most important thing you can do to improve the chance your home will survive a hurricane is to protect all windows and doors. The range of products on the market today means it’s easier to find protection that fits your budget. Whatever you choose, make sure the product has the proper approvals for wind pressure and large-missile impact. If it’s not a permanent product, install permanent fasteners ahead of time so installation is easier when storms threaten. Gable end vents can be shuttered as if they were a window. Garage door companies have bracing systems available for about $400 that should work for most door styles.
2-Secure loose roof shingles
Keeping shingles attached is critical. If the edge shingles are not well fastened or extend beyond the drip edge more than a 1/4″, high wind can lift them off and create a peeling process or domino effect. If they come up without much effort (older shingles become brittle and may crack when bent too much), secure them with three one-inch dabs of roofing cement under each tab.
3-Seal openings, cracks and holes
Water can invade homes in a number of ways, especially when it’s being blown horizontally. The problem is compounded if there’s a loss of power and air conditioners or dehumidifiers are unable to dry things out. Fill holes where wires, cables and pipes enter and exit the house and seal around electrical boxes and circuit breaker panels. Seal cracks around wall outlets, dryer vents, bathroom and kitchen vents, and wall lights.
4-Strengthen soffits (the material covering the underside of your roof overhang)
Keeping soffits in place can help keep water out of your house. Some have wood supports but the soffit material is not adequately fastened to the wood or there is no wood backing and the vinyl or aluminum channels are stapled or nailed to the wall. If there are wood supports, secure soffit material with sharp-pointed stainless steel screws. If the channels are just nailed to the wall, you can use polyurethane caulk to seal the channel to the wall and tie the parts together.
5-Survey surroundings and limit potential flying debris
Limiting possible sources of wind-borne debris before a storm will help protect your home and those around you. Replace gravel/rock landscaping materials with shredded bark. Limit yard objects. Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Cut weak branches.
For more information, request a free copy of the IBHS publication “S Marks the Spot” by calling toll free 1 (866) 657-4247 or view it on the IBHS web site www.DisasterSafety.org.