There’s a hurricane threat as Hurricane Sandy heads towards the east coast of the United States. The question you have to ask yourself, is whether you, your home and you’re family are prepared. You can’t control when hurricanes happen but you can prepare for them. Learning how to prepare for storms like hurricanes is becoming more important, as weather patterns change and send us many more storms than in the past. Last year an October snowstorm blanketed the northeast, and now Hurricane Sandy is headed towards the east coast.
We thought it would be helpful to give you a hurricane preparedness checklist, one you can use for this storm and future ones that threaten your home with high winds, and wind-driven rain or snow. We thought it was better to get this information online quickly, so please, if you think we’ve forgotten anything important, please let us know.
The Types of Damage Hurricanes Leave
We’re lucky that today we have ample notification of hurricanes before they arrive, unlike the 8,000 who lost their lives in Galveston, Texas in September 1900. The Red Cross defines hurricane conditions as a threat once you’re within 48 hours, and the warning is raised to a hurricane warning for hurricanes expected within 36 hours. That’s when you know it’s time to finish your storm preparations and get ready to leave if and when government authorities require evacuation.
There are many types of damage that can happen when a hurricane passes by your home. In addition to high winds, those living in coastal areas also have to worry about tidal surges that cause flooding.
- -Due to an increase in Florida hurricanes and huge losses, Florida has upgraded their building codes to improve hurricane protection, i.e. so windows and other components of your home’s envelope can withstand high winds.
- -If you don’t have the new hurricane windows, the next best thing is to board them up with plywood to prevent damage from flying debris.
- -Hurricane damage dominates coastal regions and flooding from storm surges causes significant damage like Hurricane Katrina which produced the highest storm surge ever recorded on the US coast, at 27.8 feet.
- -Extended power outages are another problem. Generators will protect the food in your refrigerator and make your home livable without power.
- -It’s best to plan ahead so if you find too much on this checklist, consider how to complete items prior to a hurricane watch being announced and please send us your ideas for making this list better.
Checklist to prepare your FAMILY for emergencies
- -Your family’s emergency kit should be packed and ready to go. Keep fresh batteries and a battery powered radio handy for a detailed list, check out 72hours.org.
- -You also need an evacuation kit with critical family papers, insurance documents, medications and other things you’ll need when you have to leave your home.
- -Store enough water to last your family for 3 days, which requires 3 gallons per person, per day.
- -If staying in your home, you’ll want to move furniture to make your home safe. Move beds away from windows; secure or move mirrors and heavy pictures away from places where people sit; place heavy items on lower shelves; have flashlights under every family members bed.
Checklist to prepare your HOME for emergencies
Wondering why you want to spend time and money preparing for something that might happen, some day? The National Institute of Building Sciences says for every $1 spent on preparing for disasters, we collectively can save $4. So to minimize damage to your home from a hurricane’s high winds and wind-driven:
- -To make your home airtight, you need to seal gaps in your homes envelope with caulking. These include around entry doors, holes and gaps around pipes and wires going into your home. Shutters or plywood should be used to cover up windows and other glass.
- -Clean your gutters, downspouts and drains to help your house shed water quickly.
- -Keep your roof in good repair and if you live in a location prone to hurricanes, use a high-wind product when replacing your roof.
- -Secure exterior features like gutters, fascia, soffits, gable vents, decks, porches and house trim.
- -Take time to trim tree limbs at risk of breaking in high winds and put away any loose items in the yard, i.e. garbage cans.
- -Raise furniture, appliances, electronics and floor coverings in the basement and on the basement, to reduce damage from flooding.
- -Check sump pumps and generators to make sure they’ll operate when needed.
- -Don’t forget to shut off utilities before you leave the house.