Once a hurricane hits, it's too late to protect your home and property. Known as cyclones and typhoons in other parts of the world, hurricanes cause high winds, heavy rain and flooding that can damage your home. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, it's important to be safe and plan ahead.
Get Your Home Ready!
You can't stop a hurricane, but there are things you can do now to reduce damage from high winds and water. The steps listed below can help keep you, your family members and your home safe during the hurricane season.
1) Flood-Proof Your Home
- Clear rain gutters and downspouts so water can flow away from your home.
- Install check valves in sewer lines to prevent water from backing up into your drains.
- Install a water alarm and a sump pump with battery backup. If you already have a sump pump, check regularly to make sure it is working properly.
2) Elevate At-Risk Items
- Elevate the heating system (furnace), water heater and electric panel if they are at risk during a flood. If possible, elevate electrical outlets, switches, light sockets, baseboard heaters and wiring.
- Elevate any items that are in the basement (e.g., washer and dryer) or move them to a higher floor.
3) Protect the Windows and Doors
- Install storm shutters for all windows, glass surfaces, french doors, sliding glass doors and skylights. Storm shutters can protect your windows and doors from flying debris.
- If you don't have storm shutters, consider purchasing pieces of plywood to nail to the window and door frames. Remember, covering your windows and doors with tape does not work!
- Make sure the garage door is properly secured. If the garage door fails, hurricane winds can enter your home and blow out windows, doors, walls and the roof.
4) Inspect the Roof
- Inspect the roof for wear or damage.
- Make sure the roof sheathing (the boards or plywood nailed to the roof rafters or trusses) is properly installed.
- Considering installing hurricane straps to help keep the roof fastened to the walls in high winds.
5) Clear the Yard
- Remove dead or rotting trees around your home.
- Trim weak tree branches, along with branches that could fall on your property.
- Designate a place where you can store outdoor items, such as lawn furniture, bikes and garbage cans, that could be swept away.
6) Buy Flood Insurance
- If you live in a hurricane-prone area, talk to your insurance agent about buying flood insurance. Flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters and business owners through the National Flood Insurance Program in participating communities. Keep in mind that a policy purchased today will take 30 days to go into effect, so act now! For more information on how to protect yourself from flood damage, visit FloodSmart.gov or call 888-379-9531.