Tuesday, October 6, 2009
When natural disasters strike, there is usually little to no warning. However, in the case of hurricanes, we are fortunate with today's technology to be able to predict when and where they will hit, as well as a host of other important factors like wind speed, rainfall, etc. While this doesn't offer much comfort to those in their path, it does help costal homeowners by giving them some time to prepare for the oncoming storm, and thus limit their losses as much as possible. With some advance planning and action on your part, you may be able to preserve some of your valuable possessions in the event a hurricane does hit in your area.
One of the most effective ways to protect your home from a hurricane is to cover all the openings. Doors and windows, including garage doors, should be completely covered using boards or plywood. Planning ahead is critical in saving time and money. Know the sizes of all your doors and windows, and have wood pre-cut and stored for quick application, when needed. If you don't have room to store window coverings, consider installing functional hurricane shutters for easily accessible protection.
It's also very important to evaluate your outdoor living spaces before a hurricane hits. Make sure that all furniture and equipment is moved to a secure place. Remove any items that could be picked up by the wind and turned into projectiles. You also may want to consider removing your mailbox from its post and bringing in any landscaping lights. While you're outside, take some time to also inspect your trees and shrubs. If there are any large limbs hanging over your home, it's better to remove them now than risk them falling in hurricane force winds.
Inside your home, you'll want to move furniture and breakables to interior rooms, preferably those without windows, if possible. If your home is in a low lying area, and ground flooding is a concern, try to put your furniture up on cinder blocks, if possible. As a last resort, extremely precious items can be transported to another location. If you do have the ability to move some items, be sure to also take important documents and any family heirlooms that are irreplaceable.
Before a hurricane hits, ensure that your vehicles are filled with gas and in good working order. Remember that if a mass evacuation is ordered, commodities like gasoline and windshield washing fluid could become scarce. If you do have to leave your home, make sure you take all insurance information with you, including your agent's phone number, claims reporting number, and your policy numbers. Advise your friends, neighbors, and family of your evacuation plans, making sure that they all know how to get ahold of you, if necessary.
With these steps and some good common sense, you will be very well prepared for the potential of a hurricane. For more information, visit government agency websites for specific instructions in the event of a storm. While no one ever wants a hurricane to reach their home, it is still a good idea to err on the side of caution and make sure you've prepared yourself in advance. At the very least, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing that you've limited your losses as much as possible and assured the safety of your loved ones.
By: Ellen Bell
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