How Can You Help Protect Your Home and Family Against Hurricanes?
The destructive force of a hurricane should never be taken lightly. These powerful storms can unleash devastating winds, torrential rains, storm surges and tornadoes, causing extensive damage. And while you can’t stop a hurricane from coming, you can strengthen your home against its brutal force. Here are some actions you can take to help protect your property, and even save your life.
Prepare for a hurricane before the season begins
Long before hurricane season (June 1 – Nov. 30), make sure you take these precautions that may help your family stay safe and minimize damage to your property:
Develop a family storm preparation plan
- Find the fastest routes from your home and workplace to your public evacuation shelter or other safe area.
- Let friends and relatives know the shelter’s location.
- Be aware of the disaster plans of your workplace and children’s schools.
- Make sure your vehicle fuel tanks are filled.
- Designate an out-of-state friend or relative as a family contact.
Put together a disaster survival kit in case you need to evacuate
- The kit should include basics such as water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and blankets, emergency supplies/ tools, and special items such as cash.
- Add important documents, including insurance policies.
- Place items in airtight plastic bags and store them in an easy-to-carry container, such as a plastic storage container with lid or a duffle bag.
- Keep the kit in a convenient place known to your whole family.
- Change the water and food supply every six months.
- Update your kit once a year, based on your family’s changing needs.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about whether you can store your medications with your survival kit and the best way to do so.
Strengthen your home against a hurricane by reinforcing these important areas
The more information you have, the better prepared you can be when a hurricane strikes. Impact resistant windows, shutters and doors should have a proof of compliance identified on a sticker or label, or imprinted into the product. Check to be sure your shutters are working properly and fit securely.
- Install impact resistant permanent shutters that meet state building code approved standards.
- You can also install permanent fasteners so protective panels (such as ¾" plywood) can be quickly put in place.
- Consider installing hurricane-resistant entry doors. All entry doors should have three hinges and a dead bolt lock with at least a one-inch bolt throw length.
- Door framing should be securely anchored to the wall structure using fasteners that are at least three inches long.
- If you have double-entry doors, secure the inactive door with head and foot bolts that extend through the door header and into the subfloor.
- Patio doors should be made of tempered glass.
- Shuttering doors offers extra protection.
- Think about installing a hurricane resistant garage door, or have a steel bracing kit installed to help support the door against wind pressure.
- You can also protect your garage door with a shutter or screen rated for wind pressure and debris impact.
- Hurricane-force winds can cause shingles to peel off, especially if edge shingles are not well secured or the adhesive on their tabs has failed. A roofing professional can evaluate your roof.
- To help anchor the soffits, the exposed siding under your roof rafters, to your home, it is recommended to have a professional apply a bead of polyurethane sealant between the wall and the trim into which the soffit panels are inserted.
- You can also apply a dollop of caulk in the V-shaped hole where the joint between two soffit panels meets the trim.
- Any cracks or holes where cables, pipes or wires enter the home should be sealed with caulk.
- Before a hurricane strikes, move garbage cans, patio furniture, grills and other potentially wind-borne objects inside your home or garage.
- Consider replacing gravel or rock landscaping materials with shredded bark.
- If you live in a mobile home, inspect all straps and tie-downs for wear and have repairs made if necessary.
- Also, make sure your home has flood insurance because a standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover damage caused by a flood.
- Flood insurance is available through the U.S. Government’s National Flood Insurance Program, and can be purchased in participating communities.
- Insurance agents like those at State Farm® that are enrolled in the NFIP Direct Program can write and service flood insurance coverage directly through the federal government. There is generally a 30-day waiting period for the policy to go into effect.
If a hurricane warning is given, take steps to protect your family and property. If you are ordered to evacuate, go to a shelter as directed by local authorities. Learn more about preparing a hurricane evacuation plan.
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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.