One of the downsides of living in warm, sunny, and beautiful Florida is that sooner or later you may be facing a hurricane. 40% of hurricanes that make landfall in the U.S. hit the Sunshine State.
While there’s nothing you can do about the weather, there are steps you can take to help your home withstand the storm. Here’s how to prepare for hurricane season in Florida.
Protect Your Windows
Windows are one of the most susceptible areas of a home during a hurricane. If you don’t have time to invest in installing storm windows, you’ll need to protect them with storm shutters or board them up using plywood.
Shutters are removable, but the hardware needed to hold them in place is not. So keep this in mind if you take this approach to strengthen your windows.
If you do have any unprotected windows, stay away from these rooms until the storm has safely passed.
Store or Secure Lawn Furniture
Hurricane-force winds can easily pick up outdoor furniture and other freestanding objects in your yard and send them hurling. Place furniture, gardening tools, potted plants, bicycles, toys, pool floats, and anything else outdoors that can become a projectile into storage so they can’t get tossed around.
If it’s not possible to place items out of harms’ way, try to tie or weigh them down to secure them.
Cut loose or weak branches from trees on your property. They can easily get blown off and become flying projectiles, or land on your car or other personal property. They also have the potential to damage your neighbor’s property.
Consider having any weak trees or ones close to your property removed so they can’t fall on your home.
Secure Your Garage Door
One of the reasons hurricanes are so dangerous is that their winds can enter your garage and force your roof off. If your garage door wasn’t designed to hold up against storms, you’ll need to brace it with something. Your car can even be used to strengthen your garage door.
Many homeowners don’t consider protecting their garage door when prepping for a hurricane, but taking this extra step can prevent thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
Keep Your Basement Dry
Hurricane water can pool in your basement. If you have a sump pump, make sure it’s been properly maintained and is ready to remove excess water. If you don’t have one, purchase a dehumidifier and sandbags in case your basement is flooded.
Be prepared to call a water damage restoration company to completely dry out your home following a storm.
Clean Ducts and Gutters
Obstructed ducts and gutters can cause water to pool up in areas and lead to a leaky roof. You definitely don’t want to be dealing with water coming inside your home during a hurricane, so inspect and clean your ducts and gutters when you know a storm is approaching. Remove leaves and other debris so water can flow freely through them.
Stock Up On Supplies
It’s always a good idea to keep a stockpile of needed supplies during hurricane season. Some of the items you should have on-hand include:
- Bottled water—enough for drinking and washing
- Non-perishable food including canned goods, dried fruit, and crackers
- Flashlights, headlamps, and extra batteries
- Prescription and non-prescription medicine
- First aid kit
- Battery operated radio
- Hand sanitizer
- Baby supplies such as food and diapers
- Pet food and supplies, if you have animals
- Trash bags
This is just a partial list to get you started. This article has more information on what you should stock up on in anticipation of a hurricane. Make sure all members of the family including elderly loved ones and children have any medications or necessities before the storm hits.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Chances are if you’re living in Florida, your homeowner’s insurance is protecting you to a degree from hurricane damage. But it’s a good idea to review your policy and the fine print. You’ll want to be prepared in case there are some restrictions or types of damage that aren’t covered.
Take photos or record a few videos of your property before the hurricane arrives, just in case you need to show them to your insurance company if there’s damage.
Move Your Cars
If you have a garage, move your cars inside it and park them against the door in case winds try to blow the door down. If you don’t have a garage, move them to an area where they’re as far away as possible from trees and branches. You’ll want to prevent them from getting crushed from a downed tree or large branch.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Hopefully, you will never have to evacuate your home during a hurricane, but it’s good to have a plan just in case. Decide as a family where you will go, whether it’s to a hotel or another family member’s home. If you have pets, be prepared to evacuate them to safety as well.
You may even decide to head to a safer and dryer area before the storm arrives.
Remain Indoors in a Safe Area
Needless to say, if you do decide to ride out the storm, stay indoors until it’s over. Venturing outdoors can leave you vulnerable to personal injury.
Decide on a designated safe area of your home for your family to stay. It should ideally have no or as few windows as possible and be on the first floor.
Prepare For Hurricane Season in Florida
Florida storms can be scary, but you’ll definitely ease some of your fears if you know how to prepare for hurricane season. Take the time to follow these steps before one hits your area so you can keep your home and loved ones safe.
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