Tips to Protect Your Home from Hurricanes in 2015

10 Aug
2015 Hurricane Risk Map

This map of the Southeastern part of the United States displays near worst case storm surge flooding scenarios under a Category 5 Hurricane.

We are smack dap in the middle of hurricane season and if you live in an area where hurricanes are likely, preparing your home and family for the big one is important. Hurricanes can cause a tremendous amount of damage in a very short period of time. The costliest hurricane ever recorded, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana caused $108 billion in property damage.

Louisiana is not the only state that has to worry about tropical cyclones, but many of them are in the southern part of the country. According to Climate Central the top five cities that are most vulnerable to a land-falling hurricane are:

  1. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.
  2. Miami, Fla.
  3. New Orleans, La.
  4. Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Va.
  5. Houston/Galveston, Texas

Florida seems to be a particular risk with 40% of the hurricanes that occur in the United States hitting the Sunshine State.

Early Preparation and Planning are Important

Hurricanes can pop up unexpectedly and can travel fast so there is a good chance that you will have limited time to batten down the hatches before you need to evacuate your home which is why preparation is so important.

Research – Check out the hurricane risks for your particular area. Your local Emergency Management Director should be able to detail the risks as well as advise you if your home falls within a designated hurricane evacuation zone.

Prepare – Before hurricane season hits remove dead or dying trees from your property. In the event of an evacuation, have plans on where you will go, the fastest route out of the area and details on how you will get in touch if you end up getting separated.

Putting together a “go bag” at the beginning of the season is always a good idea. Include copies of important papers such as any prescriptions you might need, your insurance policies as well as a detailed home inventory. Make sure you have some nonperishable food, a first-aid kit, water and a flashlight. Keep a battery-powered radio nearby.

Here are a few other tips that will help ensure your house is ready for hurricane season:

  • Keep your rain gutters clear as hurricanes are usually accompanied by heavy rain and clogged gutters can lead to flooding.
  • Outdoor play structures should be securely anchored to the ground.
  • In the event of a serious storm and if time allows, put away lawn furniture, garbage cans, hanging plants, gas grills and anything else that may be turned into a projectile by strong winds.
  • Know where all of the shut offs for your utilities are so you can quickly shut down all gas and electric before evacuating your home.
  • Build plywood covers to put up over your windows and sliding doors to protect them from wind damage.

Insurance Issues

If the worst happens, one of the first calls you will probably make is to your home insurance agent. Having the proper information and details will make your claim go smoother.

Have copies of all of your policies in a safe place, most experts recommend a safe deposit box or fireproof/waterproof safe. Photos, and videos of the exterior of the home as well as all of your personal possessions will help speed up the claims process and ensure that you get paid the full value of your property. Keep a detailed list of furniture, clothing and other valuables. There are a number of apps available that can speed this process up.

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