Hurricanes are the most destructive natural disasters in the U.S. and preparing for them is your best bet to stay safe and protect your property.
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey tore through the Houston and southeast Texas area. The damage, totaling around $125 billion, was primarily from rainfall-induced flooding. That same year, Hurricane Irma hit the southeast coast of the U.S. causing damage up to $200 billion. Hurricanes are the most destructive natural disasters in the United States. While there isn’t much you can do to avoid them, you can take steps to prepare and drastically reduce the damage.
While it can be difficult to completely protect your home and valuables from a hurricane, you can make a positive impact on the outcome by preparing your home and your family ahead of time. Here’s how.
Thankfully, most hurricanes come with a warning. Its path, however, can change, catching you off guard if you’re not prepared. Even if the storm isn’t forecasted for your particular location, taking precautions and preparing for the worst could save your life. Learn your area’s flooding risk and community hurricane evacuation routes. Then, create a family evacuation plan. Determine a meeting place for your family and the routes it will take to get there. Plan how to get in touch if you’re separated, and where you’ll go if you are forced to evacuate. If you own a business, be sure to set up a business continuity plan to help you operate and recover faster.
Before the storm hits, be sure to review your insurance coverage. Regular homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage caused by natural disasters. If you don’t have flood insurance, now’s a good time to consider adding it to your existing policy. It could be the difference between a month or two of repairs and a total loss. Don’t forget to take photos and video of your belongings and the interior and exterior of your home in case you need to file a claim.
Store copies of important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, and proof of ownership on any and all properties you own in a water-safe container. Back up the data on your electronic devices to ensure it’s secure in case your computer or other devices are damaged during the hurricane.
Damage to your home from a hurricane could be catastrophic. Before it strikes, take some time to protect your property.
Secure your roof with straps or clips to increase its strength. Secure loose shingles and seal the area around your home’s chimney and vent pipes to help keep water out. Check your roof for any already existing cracks or leaks that could let water in or cause problems with heavy rainfall. Maintain your rain gutters and downspouts, cleaning them regularly to prevent clogs. Make sure your gutters are strong and in good condition. When heavy rain starts to fall, clogged and sagging gutters could cause major water damage to your home.
Prune shrubs and other landscaping in your yard for more wind resistance. Trim any dead or weak tree branches that could break and cause damage to your home. Pick up loose branches, and replace any loose rocks or stones with bark or soil. Your yard may be home to objects that could easily become flying projectiles in high winds. Secure anything that could be swept up by wind or water such as potted plants, outdoor furniture, grills, and dog houses. A good rule of thumb: if it can’t be tied down, it’s best to bring it inside.
Strong winds can shatter your windows, leaving the interior of your home vulnerable and in poor condition. Contrary to popular belief, taping your windows doesn’t actually prevent the glass from breaking, especially in a storm as strong as a hurricane. Install and secure storm shutters made from steel, aluminum, or plywood that cover the entirety of the glass.
Reinforce your garage door to help it withstand powerful wind gusts. Use a brace kit rated for storm and hurricane-level winds, or install a metal post system, metal panels, or plywood. If possible, move your vehicles into your garage to help protect them from getting swept up by heavy winds and forceful tides.
It’s best to unplug all electrical devices during a powerful storm to keep them from getting damaged. But it’s also wise to purchase a surge protector. A backup generator can be helpful as well, running essential appliances in a power outage.
Here are a few more hurricane preparation tips to help protect you and your home:
Learn More: How to Identify Home Flooding Hazards
The moments after a hurricane hits your home are crucial. Here’s what you need to know.
The damage left in the wake of a hurricane is often catastrophic and debilitating. Unfortunately, living conditions can be extremely unhealthy and unsafe. That’s where we come in. At PuroClean, we offer various services including demolition of the damaged and affected areas, overall drying of the structure and treatment to deter mold growth. After a flooding incident, everything that was touched by floodwaters has to be dried, cleaned and disinfected immediately. This is usually the case for carpet and flooring, as well as some drywall. Most of the cleaning products available from your local hardware store will not adequately sanitize your home’s materials for reconstruction.
At PuroClean, we have the supplies and experience to get the job done right, getting your life as back to normal as possible as quickly as possible. Our goal is to provide the highest level of service at a price within industry standards and insurance guidelines. We’re here to help.