A hurricane is a deadly type of tropical storm that frequently strikes Central America, the Caribbean, and the Southeastern coast line of the United States. Hurricanes cost millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars of damage to homes and businesses each year, and claim many lives. The key to survival and minimal property damage during a hurricane is preparedness. With a little time and money, you can secure your home and protect your family from the threat of a hurricane.
Invest In Hurricane Window Protection
Hurricane shutters are an investment, but they are still the best type of hurricane window protection for your home. Functional hurricane shutters are available in many styles and at various price ranges. First and foremost, you’ll want to check with your city for any local building codes related to hurricane window protection products. Some areas have lists of approved products that you’ll want to choose from. Second, consider the type of opening you have to cover. In some cases there may be size restrictions or limitations on the type of installation that can be done. Will you be doing the installation or hiring a contractor to do it for you? If the latter is the case, you’ll want to consult with the installer before making a purchase. Some installers might be able to get you special discounted pricing on certain types of shutters.
Clean Up Your Yard and Landscaping
The biggest cause of damage in a hurricane is high wind and the flying debris that is picked up by the wind. Hurricane planning and preparedness begins when you landscape your home. For example, don’t plant large landscape trees close to your home. Falling branches can break windows or even cave a roof in.
Preparing your yard is another important step. When you know a hurricane is approaching, go outside and look around with a careful eye. What objects could become projectiles if picked up by the wind? Lawn ornaments and decorations such as birdbaths, gazing balls, small statues, and birdhouses and feeders should all be brought indoors before a storm. Also remember to secure or bring in grills, patio furniture, umbrellas, children’s toys and play equipment, and potted plants. If you have outdoor pets, you’ll also want to plan ahead of time for them, too. If you think you may have to evacuate your home, consider boarding your pets at a kennel or veterinary office that is prepared for hurricanes.
Create a Family Emergency Plan
Developing an emergency plan for your family is critical to hurricane preparedness. Each member of your family should know where to go in the event of a hurricane. Preferably, this location should be a room in your home without any windows. Basements, closets, or the area underneath stairs are all good choices. Be sure to stock this spot with a first aid kit, bottled water, flashlights (with extra batteries), a weather radio or battery operated television, and some food supplies (dried and canned are the best options because of the long shelf life).
Evacuate If Necessary
Lastly, don’t be a hero. If your city or county is recommending that everyone evacuate, then heed their warning. Many lives were lost during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 because people refused to evacuate their homes. While no one wants to leave their home and risk it being destroyed, it’s still far better that you are not inside when damage occurs. There are many storm shelters set up by municipalities where residents can go to weather a storm. Plan ahead by knowing the locations of your nearest storm shelters and their emergency phone numbers.
Many lives are unnecessarily lost each year to hurricanes. Remember, preparedness is the key in minimizing property damage and loss of life in emergency situations. Take the time to do some advance planning. With a small investment in time and money, you can prepare your home and family and protect yourself against the threat of a hurricane.