caulking window for hurricane prep

How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

David Sherwood Sherwood Inspection Services, LLC 1 Comment

Andrew, Katrina, Irene, Donna, Gloria, Irene, Elsa, Henri, Ida.  These names represent one of the most destructive forces of nature.  Hurricanes have caused billions of dollars in property damage and loss in the United States just within the last couple of decades .  

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1st and ends November 30th.  The peak of the season is in August and September; these months are when the most destructive storms usually occur.  Yet despite the potential damage that a hurricane can cause, there are ways to prepare your home for a hurricane.

A home is the most valuable asset the majority of people will ever own.  Here, we’ll discuss valuable tips you can use to minimize damage to your home should a hurricane threaten your area.  You’ll learn practical ways to protect your home and possessions from these often destructive storms.   

How to Prepare the Interior of Your Home for a Hurricane

  • Turn off and unplug all electronics when the power goes out or if water enters your property.  This will prevent damage to your electronics and since water conducts electricity, unplugging them will minimize potential bodily harm from electrical shock
  • Move your furniture and valuables to the highest floor within your home to protect them from possible flooding:  This is a good time to take items of monetary and sentimental value to higher ground.  If you have additional time or space also include electronics and other furniture that you want to protect
  • Set your refrigerator to its lowest setting.  If the power goes out this will allow your food to stay cooler longer
  • For basements, filling cracks with hydraulic cement, and coating walls with waterproof masonry cement will minimize water entering. Make sure your sump pump is operating before the storm
  • To protect your home’s foundation, add caulk to any cracks or holes where cables, pipes or wires enter your home

How to Prepare the Exterior of Your Home for a Hurricane

  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts and make sure they are firmly attached
  • Cover Your Windows and Doors:  Windows can be covered with storm shutters and both doors and windows can be boarded up with plywood to prevent broken glass and interior damage
  • For garage doors:  Install hurricane-resistant garage doors or use a steel bracing kit to support the door against wind pressure.  You can also install shutters that are rated for wind pressure and debris impact
  • Protect your Roof by securing loose shingles and covering vulnerable areas with tarps or other secure coverings
  • Remove or trim large or damaged tree branches to prevent property damage from flying limbs
  • Have sandbags available to protect your home from flooding.  They can be purchased or you can make them yourself with plastic bags and sand.  By placing them around your home you can prevent flood waters from entering the structure
  • Bring Outdoor Decorations and Furniture Inside.  This includes:
    • Garbage and Recycling bins, Porch Swings, Bird Baths and other decorative structures, BBQ Grills, Outside recreation/toys such as trampolines and swing sets should be brought inside or secured with ropes and straps
  • Move vehicles, boats and RV’s to a secure location
  • If you live in a mobile home, inspect all straps and tie-downs for wear and have repairs made if necessary
  • If you have a pool be sure to cover the pump filter

Other Important Tips in the Event of Hurricane

Keep an Inventory List of Belongings:

  • Write down a list that includes value of furniture, appliances and personal belongings
  • Walk through each room in your home and create a video describing the items and their value(this will be particularly helpful when filing an insurance claim)
  • Have your insurance documents Ready: keep your insurance documents along with other important documents in a large ziploc bag or other waterproof container to protect them and keep them readily available

Create a Hurricane Supply Kit

The following are items to have on hand for your family: 

  • Enough bottled water for each member of your family and pets
  • Canned food and other non-perishables, foods that don’t have to be cooked or refrigerated if the power goes out
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Extra clothes for you and your family
  • A first aid kit with anything your family members or pets may need
  • A radio and extra batteries
  • Disposable dishes
  • Prescription medications for family members and pets

Plan for Your Pets

  • Have several days’ worth of food for your pet in an airtight container
  • Store several days of water for your pet and a water bowl
  • Collar with ID tag and a harness or leash.  
  • Have a supply of sanitation and grooming items for your pet including litter box, litter, newspapers, plastic bags, pet shampoo, brushes and other items
  • Keep copies of your pet’s registration information and other relevant documents in a waterproof container
  • Have your pet’s carrier ready for transport, ideally one for each pet
  • A picture of you and your pet: If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, a picture of you and your pet together will help you prove ownership and allow others to assist you in identifying your pet
  • Include favorite toys, treats: Familiar items can help reduce stress for your pet
  • For more useful information on how to prepare your pets for a hurricane:

Consider Purchasing a Generator

  • Having a generator may prove invaluable to your family if you plan to stay in your home.  When power goes out, they can be used to help you cook, run refrigerators,  fans and other appliances  
  • They also ensure you can keep a tv running to stay informed about local conditions and keep your phones charged to stay in communication with family members and friends 

Have Evacuation Accommodations Arranged Ahead of Time

  • Arrange a visit with a friend or relative in case of a hurricane 
  • Reserve a hotel room or other rented accommodations out of the path of the hurricane where you can safely evacuate

Protecting your home and your family is your highest priority if a hurricane is heading in your direction.  By following the steps we’ve outlined you will have the best chance of greatly reducing the potential damage to your homes and any harm to the lives of your loved ones.

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