Do you have lawn chairs or other furniture outside? Do you have lightweight yard structures or other types of decorative items on the lawn? If so, any of these items could easily be picked up by high winds. Once airborne, these items can smash into the side of your home, business or a neighboring property and damage siding and windows.
Do you have large trees near your home or business? If so, keep the trees trimmed. Weak and low-hanging branches can easily be damaged in high winds and strike anything in the surrounding area. Heavy rains also can weaken tree roots, causing large trees to topple over onto your property. Consult an arborist for detailed instruction on protecting your trees in hurricane-prone areas.
PREPARE THE YARD
Weakened sections of trees and shrubbery can easily be blown around during a hurricane, causing extensive damage to structures, knocking down utility lines and blocking roads and drains. Take action now to reduce the risks of property damage caused by tree limbs and shrubbery.
Cut weak branches that could easily be thrown against a structure due to high winds. Also, reduce the chances of branches becoming weak by not allowing any to become more than 5 feet in length and by removing the amount of Spanish moss growing on limbs.
Remove any branches that are positioned over a structure that could easily cause damage by breaking off.
Trim away any limbs close to utility lines that could potentially pull down lines or even entire polls. It is important to never touch a wire and trimming should usually be done by a contractor or the local utility company itself.
Remove yard debris promptly in order to reduce the risks of flying debris during a hurricane’s strong winds. It is also important to place yard debris in an area that could not cause the debris to go into streets and eventually clog drains.
SECURE YARD OBJECTS
High winds can quickly pick up any yard object that isn’t well anchored or heavy enough to resist the uplift forces. These objects have the potential to cause significant damage to anything in the surrounding areas.
When a hurricane is threatening, move yard furniture, garden spheres or gnomes, signs, garbage cans, and potted plants into a covered area.
Before a hurricane threatens, secure the parts of a fence that appear weakened or loose. Hurricane-force winds can easily dislodge boards and pieces from a fence creating flying debris.
Anchor heavier yard objects deep into the ground.
Shutter Windows and Doors
Watch the video below to see how leaving just one window or door unprotected can lead to catastrophic damage in a hurricane:
Using Plywood to Cover Windows and Doors
If a hurricane is threatening and you do not yet have shutters, use plywood only as a last-minute alternative. If used, the plywood it must be properly fastened to provide optimal protection.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BUY:
1/2 in. to 3/4 in. CDX plywood available in 4′x8′ sheets; Orient Strand Board (OSB) not recommended; Use two layers of 3/8in. material to obtain the same effect as one layer of 3/4 in. material.
Anchors and fasteners for masonry or wood installation. Pre-install anchors for quicker assembly when a hurricane threatens.
Peel and stick weather stripping
Plywood should not be used to cover openings larger than 4 ft. x 8 ft. unless additional framing is added.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
Material costs: vary by region. In times of storm activity, price gouging – although illegal – has been a problem. Contact your state law enforcment agency if this occurs. Installation costs: $1-$2 for DIY; $3-$5 for installation by a carpenter or contractor
Helpful hint from IBHS engineers: Attaching weather stripping to top and sides of panels, where they come into contact with a wall, may provide extra protection against water intrusion.
IF YOU HAVE SHUTTERS:
Install permanent fasteners long before storm warnings, so panels can be put in place quickly and time can be spent focusing on other needs.
Prepare for Flooding
WHEN FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR A HURRICANE IS ON THE WAY:
Clear drains, gutters and downspouts of debris.
Roll up area rugs and carpeting, where possible, and store these on higher floors or elevations. This will reduce the chances of rugs getting wet and growing mold.
Move furniture and electronics off the floor, particularly in basements and first floor levels.
Anchor fuel tanks. An unanchored tank can be torn free by floodwaters, and the broken supply line can cause contamination or, if outdoors, can be swept downstream and damage other property.
Prepare an evacuation kit with important papers, insurance documents, medications and other things you may need if you are forced to be away from your home or business for several days.
Inspect sump pumps and drains to ensure proper operation. If a sump pump has a battery backup, make sure the batteries are fresh or replace the batteries.
Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets will be under water.
Place all appliances, including stove, washer and dryer on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
TESTING GENERATORS BEFORE YOU NEED THEM
Generators — portable or permanently installed — require the use of fuel. Diesel fuel is more prone to oxidation than gasoline, and should never be stored for longer than 12 months.
Many generators use fuel filters to prevent impurities from clogging the fuel lines. Fuel filters should be maintained in accordance with the equipment manufacturers’ recommendations to prevent this problem.
Proper coolant level is critical to the operation of a generator. Check coolant levels prior to start up.
Like any engine, a generator uses oil. Use the right type of oil, maintain the proper oil level and change the oil when it appears dirty.
Check that all air vents or louvers are in good condition, free of dirt and debris, and, if required, that they move freely during operation.
Visually inspect the condition of all hoses, gaskets and gauges to ensure these are free of cracks and operational without leaks.
At start up, check that operating pressures and temperatures are stable and within the manufacturers design parameters.
Also, when the engine is running, check for unusual engine noise and knocking. If there are any unusual sounds, turn the generator off and have it inspected by a professional.
Top off all liquids at the conclusion of the test.
Do not tamper with safety devices or attempt to repair the generator unless you are a qualified service person.
The total electrical load on your generator should never exceed the manufacturer’s rating.