Try as we might, there seems to be no avoiding hurricanes. Every year they make landfall in the United States, causing damage and displacing people from their homes. Close to seven hurricanes every four years strike the United States, while about three major hurricanes cross the U.S. coast every five years.
With the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, nearly 13 million people were affected, more than 130,000 homes were damaged and the flooding caused damage to cars, businesses and other things. The economic impact from Harvey is estimated at more than $150 billion.
To paraphrase Jimmy Buffett, everyone’s trying to reason with hurricane season. When hurricane season comes, hurricane ready homes can help residents weather the strong storms and hopefully stay safer. Here are some tips for residents to turn their houses into hurricane ready homes.
- Protect from flood damage: Floods are one of the most common natural disasters and where there are hurricanes, there’s almost certainly heavy flooding. When a hurricane hits, the chances that a home will be susceptible to flood damage is fairly high.
To prevent or curtail flood damage, try using sandbags to help create a barrier. It’s recommended that the sandbags be at least two feet high. When it comes to your car, try to park it on higher ground rather than just leaving it in the driveway or in the garage.
Taking steps to prevent flooding doesn’t necessarily mean that your home will be immune to flood when and if it happens. Inside the home, consider unplugging electronics and appliances. Leaving them plugged in leaves you open to a risk of electrocution if flooding does occur.
- Secure everything: While your patio furniture looks nice on the back porch on an average summer day, failing to secure it during hurricane weather leaves it open to blowing away or worse, slamming into your home at high speeds. Hurricane ready homes are better protected if loose objects are secured and the same can be said for any sort of debris around your property. The last thing you need is loose branches or plants hitting the side of the house in a storm.
- Manage appliances: As previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to unplug electronics and appliances when it comes to hurricane prep. A downed electrical pole can cause a power surge, which can do some serious damage to your home appliances. For things that can’t be unplugged, surge protectors are a good preventative to have. They will help protect appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers from surges.
- Know what you have: If you have to evacuate during a hurricane, you won’t be able to take everything you own with you. Even when you come back, some of your belongings may be damaged. To make your home even more hurricane-ready, create a home inventory list of what you have. That way if you need to replace anything you know exactly what it is. Replacing things after weather damage is always tough, but home inventory apps can make the process a little easier.
- Shut up the windows: An important part of transforming houses into hurricane ready homes is securing windows and doors. These are two of the most vulnerable parts of a house during a storm and boarding them up secures them and can help guard against hurricane damage.
When it comes to protecting your home from storm damage, consider installing hurricane-proof windows and glass doors in your home. The pros and cons of hurricane-proof windows can be found here.
If you and your neighbors are transforming your houses into hurricane ready homes, getting flood insurance is a good first step.
If a hurricane is on the way, use this guide to keep you and your family members safe.
If your home has been affected by a hurricane, these steps can help you figure out what to do in the aftermath.