Hurricane season officially arrived on June 1, and here in Florida, we take the threat of a tropical storm or hurricane very seriously. Over the last few years, Northeast Florida has been hit by a number of severe storms that damaged thousands of homes. Wind, flooding, and tornadoes are all very real threats in our area. But there are several things you can do to prepare and protect your home before the first storm arrives.
Preparing for Wind
Be ready for high winds. When a storm is approaching, take time to remove anything that could damage your home if high winds arrive. That includes patio furniture, garbage cans, toys, small planters, etc. If it is too large or unsafe to bring indoors, anchor it down (for example, a gas grill). Other steps to take:
- Trim trees that are close to the home and remove any dead branches or trees that could fall on a building.
- Cover windows with plywood or shutters. You can purchase plywood ahead of time and cut it to size. Do not use tape on your windows, as it is not effective protection.
- Identify a room in your home as a “safe room” in case of tornado. It should be windowless, if possible, and not have any exterior walls.
- Visually Inspect the roof from the ground to make sure there are no loose or damaged shingles. If something looks odd or out of place, call DUBO Roofing for help.
- Look inside the attic to determine if there are any signs of existing water leaks and have them repaired if necessary.
- Cover your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris. Use a manufacturer-approved cover to avoid trapping moisture inside and voiding your warranty.
Preparing For Water
Minimize the threat of water damage. Water can damage your home from two directions – through damage to your roof or from flooding. But there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of damage:
- Clean out gutters and street drains to keep water flowing freely.
- Keep plastic sheeting or tarps on hand to cover any damage to the roof. Never attempt to get on your roof in the storm. You could be hit by debris, too. After the storm, call DUBO Roofing for help.
- If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, put sandbags around the house to absorb some of the water.
- Keep cleaning supplies on hand, including bleach, to clean areas after the water recedes.
- Check the seals around windows and doors and replace any that are deteriorated so that no water will blow in.
- Check all around the base of your home to see if there are any cracks in the foundation. Repair any cracked areas to prevent water from coming in.
- Seal around any pipes or electrical cables that come into your home.
- Check with your pool supply company for advice on the best way to secure your pool pump and motor.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Understand your homeowner’s insurance policy. Most policies will not cover flood damage, but you can purchase a separate policy for that. Keep in mind there is a waiting period between the time you buy the policy and when it will offer coverage. Check your coverage amount to make sure it will be enough to replace your home or cover the cost of major repairs. Review your deductible, as hurricane coverage often has a separate deductible amount.
Other Tips For Hurricane Preparation
- Know where the shut-off valves are for the water, gas, and electrical connections to your home. If you do not know how to turn them off, contact your utility company for instructions.
- Place insurance papers, passports, and other important documents in a water-tight container and store them up high. If you have to evacuate, all of your important papers will be in one place.
- Know your local evacuation route and have a plan so family members will know where to meet and how to contact one another.
- Print out this hurricane supply list from WJXT and use it to make sure you have everything you need.
- Print out this guide from the City of Jacksonville or the Preparedness Guide from Clay County.
- Prepare for your pets, too, with this guide from the Jacksonville Humane Society.