If you live in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, or Louisiana, the likelihood of a hurricane ravaging your area is higher than in other states. But just because you live far from these places means that you should not expect harsh weather, too. The impact of a hurricane in coastal areas can reach non-coastal cities, too, even those hundreds of miles away.
That’s why it’s imperative to have home insurance from a reputable provider. It’ll reduce your financial load of home repairs.
But even so, you still need to fortify your abode more securely to minimize your anxieties altogether. As much as possible, you’d rather in your home than moving into an emergency shelter.
That said, below are some crucial pointers for living in a hurricane-prone area:
Before a Disaster: Preparation Tips
As you choose a home to buy or build one, identify and inspect the most vulnerable parts of the house. That would be the roof, windows, and the yard (or landscape garden).
- Roof Protection
If the shingles or other roofing materials aren’t securely attached, the force of the hurricane can peel them off, opening a passage for water. In the worst-case scenario, the roof sheathing gives out, too, exposing your entire home to the harsh elements outside.
There are several ways to reinforce a roof. You can use an uncommon nail designed to boost a roof’s resistance to hurricane forces by 100%. If you have a hip or gable roof, bracing is a good option so that the end walls will become more resistant to hurricane force. You may also add collar ties if your roof is framed with rafters.
To protect your sheathing, use construction adhesive, running it along each rafter or truss on the point where it touches the sheathing above. This will triple your roof’s resistance against wind pressure.
If you have more budget to spare, consider hiring a professional to install hurricane straps, too. It can provide a permanent solution for vulnerable roofs in hurricane-prone areas.
- Window Protection
The durability of your windows depends on its material. Aluminum panels are the best, as they offer superior protection against debris and wind. Fabric shields are a satisfactory choice, too, though they aren’t as protective as aluminum. However, they meet Florida’s Building Code Standards, so they aren’t likely to fail you.
Colonial windows, in aluminum or fiberglass, offer maximum protection too, with the added benefit of being slid down to close. But they’re not the most budget-friendly, costing $30 to $35 per square foot, installed.
- Yard Protection
If you’re planting trees, choose well-rooted varieties, like live oak, beech, Indian tamarind, and bald cypress. Those trees have a stronger wood, so they can stay upright even with strong winds. Don’t forget to prune regularly, too, as it’ll prevent the tree from growing a competing trunk that may damage your pavements.
On a Predicted Disaster: Evacuation and Emergency Plan
Even with a prepared home, an evacuation and emergency plan is still necessary. Figure out more than one escape route, and call shelters ahead of time to check if they can take in your whole family. If you don’t want to stay in a shelter, have a friend or family member willing to take you in.
Stock up on ready-to-eat food because you may lose power that’ll render your electric stove useless. Buy canned soup and tuna, cereals, crackers, peanut butter, and others that you’d like. Don’t forget the food for your pets too.
Have an emergency kit bought or prepared, which should include enough water, medications, important paperwork and documents, and the food you’ve stocked up on. You may also need to add a flashlight, first-aid kit, and a battery-powered radio.
Inspect your roof and gutters, which you should clean before a hurricane. If you have outdoor furniture, bring them inside or in your garage.
Use sandbags if you’re in a flood zone. Though it won’t completely prevent flood damage, it can at least divert floodwater from your property and reduce the damage it’ll leave.
Ensure that your mobile electronics are fully charged before the hurricane. You may also purchase a generator, but use it with caution because it emits carbon dioxide.
After a Disaster: Recovering
Prioritize your safety after a hurricane. If your home gets damaged, follow your evacuation plan first, then call your insurance provider to inspect your home. But before leaving, take pictures of the damage first because it will help determine if your insurance policy covers it.
Your insurance provider should assign you a claim representative, with whom you shall work to do the repairs. The process may take longer, but most insurers will cover the damage once you’ve paid the deductible. After receiving your claims, you may hire professional cleaners to help you make your abode habitable again.
Living in a hurricane-prone area requires more diligence and vigilance, but don’t let that bring you down. The more skilled you are in disaster preparedness, the more likely you’ll survive anything.