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How to Protect Your Home During a Hurricane
With big storms a potential hazard to our beautiful Florida lifestyle, you may be wondering what you should do to protect your biggest asset when it looks like a hurricane is coming your way. We’ve prepared a little checklist to help get your home ready when that happens.
Remember: your life and family, including your pets, come first. Heed all emergency warnings and do not stay in place if you’re told to evacuate.
The points below are guidelines for protecting your property, only. You can find more emergency preparation guidelines here: https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
Also, before a storm hits is the best time to check in on your insurance, and understand what is, or is not covered. Waiting until the storm is at your doorstep is too late! Call your agent today and be ready.
Outside of Your Home
It’s important to know that houses do not explode because of air pressure differences in a storm. Damage happens when wind gets inside a home through a broken window, door, or damaged roof. Protecting against this may help minimize any damage.
- Cover the outside of your windows with shutters or plywood. Use shutters that are rated to provide significant protection from windblown debris, or fit plywood coverings over your windows.
Using tape on your windows is not recommended. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, it only prevents them from shattering.
- Bring everything indoors. High winds will turn your favorite patio chair into a projectile missile in a hurricane. Trash cans, toys, garden equipment, hanging plants, and any other objects that may fly around and damage property should be moved inside.
- Leave trees and shrubs alone. If you haven’t already removed dead or diseased branches or limbs from trees and shrubs before the hurricane warning, leave them alone. Local trash collection services will not have time before the storm to pick anything up. And loose branches in a storm can be dangerous.
- Look for potential hazards. Look around your property for coconuts, un-ripened fruit, and other objects in trees that could blow or break off and fly around in high winds. Cut them off and store them indoors until the storm is over.
- Turn off electricity and water. If you’re evacuating your property, turn off the electricity at the main fuse or breaker, and turn off the water at the main valve.
- Leave natural gas on. Unless local officials advise otherwise, leave natural gas on because you will need it for heating and cooking when you return home. If you turn the gas off, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on, and it may take weeks after a big storm before they can respond.
- Turn off propane gas service. Propane tanks often become dislodged in disasters. Turning your propane off decreases the risk of a gas explosion should this occur.
- Consider using sandbags. If flooding is expected, use sandbags to keep water away from your home. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, which can create a wall one foot high and 20 feet long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
Inside Your Home
Once the outside is secured, thing about the valuables inside of your home. You can minimize their risk of damage, too.
- Move objects that may get damaged by wind or water to safer areas of your home. Move TV sets, computers, stereo and electronic equipment, and easily moveable appliances like a microwave oven to higher levels of your home, away from any windows.
Wrapping them in sheets, blankets, plastic, or burlap is also a good idea.
- Make a visual or written record of all of your household possessions. Record the model and serial numbers, too. This list could help you prove the value of what you owned if those possessions are damaged or destroyed, and can assist you to claim deductions on your taxes.
Do this for all items in your home, including expensive items such as sofas, chairs, tables, beds, chests, wall units, and any other furniture too heavy to move.
Store a copy of the record somewhere away from your home, such as in a safe deposit box.
With today’s technology, you could also snap photos with your cell phone and save them to the cloud for safekeeping.
We hope you make it through every storm unharmed, without stress, and without damage to your home and property. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your family and friends!
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