Hurricane season occurs between June 1 and November 30. If you live in a hurricane zone, you know these storms are unpredictable and very disruptive to people’s lives. Often, floods and destructive winds during hurricane events cause untold damage to houses. With that in mind, lets discuss some early preparation measures you can perform to help manage potential damage to your property.
Before the storm
As the storm approaches, develop a plan for the following:
- Walk around the exterior of your house and your lawn and remove ALL loose or light-weight items in your lawn and store them in a durable, storm resistant shelter.
- Secure any loose features to your house, fence, and outbuildings to resist being blown away during a hurricane.
- Turn lawn tables upside down on the lawn to prevent being blown in the wind.
- Secure loose roof gutters and downspouts.
- Prepare and plan to protect your vehicle from flying debris and falling branches. (Do not park under a tree)
- Protect doors and windows on your house from flying debris impact with the use of storm shutters or other means. (Consider nailing plywood or similar product over the door or window to resist flying debris impact if your house is not equipped with storm shutters)
- If practical, trim tree branches extended over your house. Prune dead tree limbs from nearby trees.
- Review the neighborhood surrounding areas looking for loose items that can be air born during a hurricane event (think trash cans, toys, lawn tools, etc.) Work to secure these items.
- Fill your bathtub with water for use in cleaning surfaces, flushing toilets, and washing your hands.
- TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EXTERIOR OF YOUR HOUSE, LAWN, AND NEIGHBORING PROPERTY INCLUDING THE INTERIOR OF YOUR HOUSE AS THE STORM APPROACHES. Store the photographs in a secure location for later retrieval.
- If possible, obtain and/or maintain a portable generator assessing the units prior to the storm arrival. Anticipate the amount of fuel needed and store the fuel outside in a dry location above any potential inundation level.
- In a dry storage bin (plastic tub with a top) obtain and store flashlights, batteries (several days equivalent), canned goods, can opener, paper plates, plastic utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.)
- In a separate dry storage bin, store personal clothes and underclothes, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, wash cloth and towels.
Another condition to consider may be the loss of electricity and the impact it may have on your house and your living conditions. Obviously, no electricity means no power for lighting, TV, radios, cooking on electrical stoves, and operation of your refrigerator and freezer. Perishable items in your refrigerator and freezer will spoil without electricity so it is best to remove the items and place them in cool boxes (ice chest) with ice. Removing the perishable items may help in saving the function and use of the refrigerator and freezer after the storm.
After the storm
In the unlikely event that your property is subject to a hurricane, managing the damage could be overwhelming. As the cleanup work begins after the storm, fatigue, and carelessness lead to injuries. To manage these conditions, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be purchased prior to the storm and should include, at a minimum:
- a respirator
- long sleeve shirts and long pants
- Rubber boots with grip soles
- Multiple pairs of gloves
- first aid kit including bandages, antibiotic creams and sprays, medical tape, headache relief meds, etc.
As you approach the property after a storm, take pictures of your property, building, and personal items, before you begin cleaning and moving things. The pictures should be taken from afar and up close to the damage features of your house. The pictures may prove beneficial in handling insurance claims. Take pictures of the fallen fence, the damaged wall, the displaced lawn tables, the broken windows, and any defect you may see to the roof and exterior siding of your house, etc. It may all mean something later when the debris is sorted, and the insurance claim is filed.
The following items may prove helpful as you begin to sort through the damage to your house.
|Cooler (Ice chest), multiple||Prybar or crowbar|
|Prepackaged foods||Sheetrock knife and extra blades|
|Lawn chairs||Flashlight with batteries|
|Folding table||Headlight with batteries|
|Water (Bottled)||Water Key to turn water off|
|Cloth Towels, multiple||Electrical tester|
|Paper towels, multiple rolls||Box fan|
|Toilet paper||Small Generator|
|Insect repellent||5-gal Gas can with gas|
|Wasp spray||Extension cords|
|Padlocks||Gloves, multiple pair|
|Duct tape||Kitchen garbage cans to hall trash|
|Rubber gloves||Heavy duty lawn bags, multiple|
|Light bulbs||Shovel, flat edge|
|Camera and batteries||Mobile phone and charger|
Share this list with friends, neighbors, and family.
We hope you find this information useful as you prepare for the coming hurricane season.