As the calendar flips to June, the Atlantic hurricane season officially commences, extending until the end of November. For those residing in high-risk states such as Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and North Carolina, this period calls for heightened vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard both family health and home security.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a National Risk Index to help you gauge the level of risk in your area. Beyond keeping an eye on local weather reports and evacuation orders, there are several steps you can take to fortify your home against these natural calamities.
1. Prune Your Trees
The first line of defense against hurricanes begins in your backyard. Brandon Frady, a licensed insurance agent at Clearsurance, advises homeowners to inspect trees and hedges for weak, damaged, or dead branches that could turn into dangerous projectiles during a hurricane.
Engage a tree service to trim your trees or undertake some backyard landscaping yourself to prevent potential damage to your home.
2. Secure Loose Items in Your Yard
A hurricane can turn unsecured items in your yard into hazardous flying debris. Ensure everything, from your outdoor furniture and grill to your propane tank and bikes, is either secured or brought indoors.
3. Clean Your Gutters
To prevent water damage during heavy rainfall, ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and leaves. This allows water to flow away from your property quickly and efficiently.
4. Check Your Roof
Loose tiles can lead to leaks during a hurricane. Arrange for a roof specialist to inspect your roof and carry out necessary maintenance tasks to ensure everything is secure.
5. Understand Your Insurance Policy
Before disaster strikes, thoroughly review your home insurance policy to understand the extent of your coverage. Consider reaching out to your insurance company for additional coverage if necessary.
6. Install Storm Shutters
Storm shutters provide an additional layer of protection for your windows, doors, and sliding glass doors. If storm shutters are not an option, consider boarding up your windows with plywood sheets.
7. Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit
Prepare an emergency supply kit with essential items such as food, water, medicine, important documents, blankets, and a first aid kit.
8. Install a Water Alarm
A water alarm can alert you to water accumulation in your house, giving you time to act before flooding gets out of hand. Place these sensors near sump pumps, washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, and other areas susceptible to flooding.
9. Protect Your Vehicle
Keep your vehicle in the garage or under cover during hurricane warnings. If your garage is not an option, consider moving your vehicle to an inland parking garage.
As we navigate the unpredictable path of nature, it’s crucial to control what we can and prepare for what we can’t. Remember, the safest place during a hurricane is typically an interior room on the lowest level without windows, such as a closet or bathroom.
Always follow official evacuation orders if issued by authorities, and ensure you have emergency numbers saved on your smartphone. Stay safe and prepared this hurricane season.