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PREPARATION IS KEY TO HELP YOU GET READY FOR HURRICANE SEASON.
The extensive damage and human suffering caused by hurricanes and other man-made and natural disasters remind us of the importance of emergency preparedness. As hurricane season draws closer, we’ve put together 7 tips that will help you prepare your home for hurricane season.
1. HIRE LICENSED PROFESSIONALS TO ENSURE BUILDING CODE COMPLIANCE
Hurricane season reminds us of the importance of hiring the right professionals to comply with building codes. Following construction codes will protect lives and mitigate property damage caused by natural and man-made disasters.
Over 95% of the construction damage during Hurricanes Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico occurred in structures that were not code compliant. Building codes serve as a baseline in the creation of structures that can withstand extreme circumstances in order to save lives, such as hurricane conditions consisting of strong winds, impact from flying objects, rains, and floods. Consult a licensed professional to ensure your home is code compliant and safe.
2. INSPECT & MONITOR THE STRUCTURAL CONDITION OF YOUR HOME
The best way to maintain any home is to understand its vulnerability and implement the solution that best targets it. Periodic maintenance is important for the overall health of the structure and knowing what makes the foundation, walls, and roof of your home strong can help you create an overall approach to protect your home while addressing multiple natural hazards at once.
The condition and strength of a home’s structure depends on continuous monitoring and frequent maintenance. Start by asking a licensed professional to help you identify your home’s structural and exterior weakness. For example, check your home’s gutters and drains and move any objects that may block water from receding. If you have a generator, test it and fill it with fuel.
3. SEAL & PROTECT OPENINGS
Check that your home’s entry doors, windows, skylights, and vents or any other opening are properly sealed. If your home’s openings are not properly secured, then it can allow for water to seep through the cracks and can also leave it unprotected against projectiles at high-wind scenarios. Here’s what you should do:
- Inspect seals and framing of windows, vents and doors annually for signs of wear or separation.
- Watch out for corrosion. Clean immediately and replace corroded elements if necessary.
Appropriately securing and sealing openings will help protect your home from natural disasters.
4. FLOODPROOF YOUR HOME
Verify if your home or building is located on a designated floodplain along the coast. Designated flood plains can experience storm surges with breaking waves during or along a river that may overflow during heavy rains. You can floodproof your home by:
- Clearly labeling breakaway walls and critical components.
- Regularly inspecting outdoor fixtures for signs of rust, corrosion, leaks, seepage and cracks.
- Moving items used or stored in flood-prone basements or ground-floor spaces to higher floors or out of the building prior to an expected flood. These include vehicles, mechanical equipment, furniture, area rugs, personal belongings, cleaning supplies and toxic chemicals.
Understand how flood water can affect your home’s structure so that you can mitigate the risks, damages and costs associated with flooding.
5. INSTALL HURRICANE SHUTTERS
Keep your doors and windows safe during natural disasters with the help of hurricane shutters. Hurricane shutters, or storm shutters, are built to withstand and act as a barrier against the wind, protecting windows and preventing flying debris, rain, and damaging winds from entering your home. Made from a variety of materials, hurricane shutters are durable and won’t warp when hit by the elements. Installing shutters is one of the best long-term solutions for keeping homeowners safe during hurricanes.
6. HAVE A POWER BACKUP
Power outages happen when hurricanes and other natural disasters hit land. While emergency generators remain a good support for short-term power loss, new renewable energy systems can provide long-term value.
Luckily, a growing alternative energy industry is making renewable technology, such as solar panels and solar thermal systems, available to more people. We suggest scaling down dependence on oil based fuels by reducing daily energy consumption patterns in your home, evaluating alternative energy systems, and managing a backup system to get through an emergency.
7. CREATE A FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN
With hurricanes and other extreme events becoming more common, all families need an emergency plan that addresses their household’s needs. All good plans will help you determine what you and your family need to do before, during, and after a natural disaster. Whether you have a household of one or many, establishing an emergency plan is vital to suit your household’s unique needs. Your plan should focus on helping you and your household manage important information, stay connected, and have essential supplies during and immediately after a disaster.
For people with disabilities, it takes extra planning to ensure their homes and cars are safe and accessible during an emergency. If you or someone you know lives with a disability, follow Bankrate’s Disaster Preparedness Guide that prepares people with disabilities in the event of a natural disaster or emergency.
While no one can anticipate all the consequences of a hurricanes, past events have taught us that being prepared is the key to successfully overcome them. Take advantage of these tips and other resources like the Keep Safe Guide that can help you and everyone around become better prepared to survive future natural disasters.