What are 3 things you can do to get your home ready for a hurricane?

Alright, folks—when a hurricane is barreling down on you, it’s the stuff outside your house that you’ve got to deal with first. Think of your home’s exterior as the first line of defense against the raging elements. I’ll walk you through some tried-and-true tactics to secure your castle.

First things first, take a gander around your yard. You see those patio chairs, the garden gnome, and the kid’s bicycles? In hurricane winds, those are basically projectiles waiting to happen. You’ve got to stash anything that can be picked up by the wind into your garage or house. And yes, it’s a pain, but it’s so much better than filing an insurance claim for a gnome-shaped hole in your siding.

Now, let’s talk about what’s above you—that’s right, them trees. If you see limbs hanging over your house, it’s time for a trim. Hurricanes aren’t picky; they’ll throw anything they can get their winds on. Best to give those branches a good haircut before the storm decides to do it in a less civilized manner.

If a tree falls in a storm and no one is around to hear it, does it still smash your roof? Absolutely. Let’s not find out the hard way, shall we?

Moving onto larger scale prep—inspect the exterior of your home. Look for any loose siding, shingles, or shutters. If you find anything flapping in the breeze on a regular day, it’s gonna be off like a rocket when the hurricane hits. Secure these pieces in place with the appropriate hardware, or, if necessary, consider getting professional help. There’s no shame in calling in the pros to ensure your home withstands Mother Nature’s mood swings.

Don’t forget your AC unit! In the chaos, it’s easy to overlook, but protect it with a tarp or hurricane cover to prevent damage from flying debris. It might be the last thing on your mind when you’re boarding up windows, but when the storm passes, you’ll be glad to have a working AC in the aftermath.

Finally, let’s not ignore the issue of flooding. If you’re in a low-lying area, sandbags can become your best friends. Piling them around your home’s foundation could be the difference between staying dry and literally bailing water. It’s all hands on deck for this task—sandbagging is tough work, but it pays off when you’re not scooping water out of your living room.

Remember, securing the exterior of your home is about thinking ahead and being proactive. Once the storm is upon you, it’s too late for many of these steps. Take the time, do the work, and you’ll sleep better knowing you’ve given your home a fighting chance to stand tall in the face of howling winds and driving rain.

Protect Windows and Doors

Alright, now let’s get to it and fortify those windows and doors! They are, after all, your home’s eyes and mouth, and the last thing you want is hurricane-force winds to give your abode a black eye or worse, bust down the door and invite itself in for a whirlwind party.

Starting with windows, consider installing hurricane shutters; they’re the best defense. Permanent storm shutters can be expensive, but hey, they’re tough as nails and can be closed tight in moments. If your budget’s a bit tight, 5/8″ marine plywood is a solid Plan B. Cut it to fit each window, label each piece for quick identification, and store them flat and dry so they’re ready to be deployed when you hear that storm’s a-cominn’.

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Now, let’s talk glass. Impact-resistant windows are the superheroes of window protection—pricey, yes, but they can withstand the debris fired like cannonballs by those angry hurricane winds. Splurging on these can save you the hassle of boarding up windows whenever a storm brews on the horizon.

Next up, doors. Your doors must be as strong as a heavyweight boxer—meaning, they better take a hit without flinching. Reinforce them, especially the garage door since it’s typically the most vulnerable. You can strengthen it with braces or by installing a heavier-duty one that’s rated for wind pressure and impact resistance. Imagine the peace of mind, knowing your door won’t buckle under pressure!

Don’t overlook sliding glass doors, either. They’re pretty, sure, but they can also be weak spots if not properly shielded. Those shutters or plywood you used on the windows? You’re gonna need ‘em here too. If something does smash through, a simple but effective tip is to apply shatter-resistant film to the glass; that way, if it breaks, it won’t shatter into a million dangerous pieces.

And remember, leaks and drafts around doors and windows are signs to get sealing. Caulk those cracks and gaps—it’ll keep wind-driven rain out, and can also help you save on energy bills. It’s a win-win!

Just imagine the relentless storm pounding at your doors and windows, trying to get in, and your upgraded barriers just standing firm, laughing in the face of danger (metaphorically, of course). That’s the level of readiness you’re aiming for. So muster your DIY skills or get on the phone with that contractor—your home’s battle armor depends on it!

3, Reinforce Your Roof

Okay, now let’s get up on the roof, because that’s where some real serious prep needs to happen. Your roof is basically the shield of your fortress, and in a hurricane, it’s going to take a beating. Ensuring it stays intact is crucial because once your roof goes, your home’s whole structural integrity can be compromised.

Get this: A well-maintained roof is like the crown jewel of hurricane preparedness. Start by getting rid of any loose shingles or tiles. Trust me, those babies can fly off faster than a rumor in a small town. Use roofing cement to glue down the edges of the shingles—it’s a simple step, but it can make a world of difference.

If your budget allows, consider installing hurricane straps or clips. They might sound like something out of a superhero’s toolkit, but they’re actually metal fasteners that help keep your roof attached to the walls of your house. This little bit of metal muscle can be the difference between having a roof over your head or staring up into stormy skies from your living room couch.

There’s also this thing called ‘the gable end’—if you’ve got one, you’ve got to brace it. Gable ends are those triangular sections of wall at the ends of your roof, and they’re notorious for catching wind like a sail. Without proper bracing, they can collapse, and that’s a big no-no during a hurricane. Secure them with additional supports; your local hardware store will have what you need, and there are plenty of online tutorials to show you how it’s done.

Now, don’t forget the gutters! If they’re cluttered with leaves and debris, rain can’t flow away properly, and you might as well have a mini-waterfall cascading down the side of your home. Not exactly the kind of water feature you want. Clean those gutters out to ensure that water flows where it should—away from your house.

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Let me lay it out straight: a drip inside can mean disaster. So, check for leaks or damage to your roof before the storm hits. On a dry day, hop into your attic and look for any signs of daylight coming through. If you spot any, haul yourself up there—or hire a professional—to seal up those peepholes. A stitch in time saves nine, and a patch in time saves your home.

To sum it up, a roof over your head after a hurricane is priceless, so give it the TLC it needs. Keep an eye on it, give it some muscle with enhancements, and don’t let it be the weak link in your hurricane defense. Take care of your roof, and it’ll take care of you.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Now, let’s talk about prepping your very own ‘survival kit’. When all heck breaks loose outside, you’ve gotta have your essentials in order, all neatly packed and ready to grab at a moment’s notice. Crafting the perfect emergency kit isn’t just smart; it’s downright critical. We’re talking survival-of-the-fittest level important here.

First up, water—it’s the essence of life, folks. You need to stash away at least one gallon of water per person per day. Plan for a minimum of three days, though a week is preferable if you’ve got the space. And it’s not just for drinking; don’t forget water for sanitation needs, especially if the tap stops working when the power’s knocked out.

Now, let’s chow down—well, sort of. Stock up on non-perishable food items that don’t need cooking, reheating, or any fancy prep. Consider things like canned beans, nuts, dried fruits, and those energy bars that taste like they have the entirety of the outdoors squished into them. A manual can opener is a must; otherwise, you’ll be left staring hungrily at your canned goods, and nobody wants that.

Remember: This isn’t your weekly grocery haul; it’s emergency rations. So, think long shelf life and ease of preparation.

Battery-powered or hand-crank radios are like your line to the outside world when Wi-Fi takes a vacation during the storm. Ensure you’ve got one that receives NOAA Weather Radio alerts. Keep extra batteries for your radio and flashlight—because, trust me, feeling around in the dark during a power cut is no fun adventure.

Charge up those portable chargers and keep them ready as well. When the power grid bows down to the hurricane, your phone’s gonna be as helpful as a paperweight unless it’s got juice to make calls, send texts, or get support.

Speaking of support, your first aid kit should be stocked with all the band-aids, antiseptics, and pain relievers you might need. Add to that any prescription meds or essential health items you can’t do without. And because situations can go from ‘Oops, I tripped over the dog’ to ‘Holy moly, I need a splint’, having a first aid manual wouldn’t hurt either.

A stash of cash is king when ATMs and credit card machines are out for the count. Local shops, if open, may only take hard currency. And remember, keep your emergency papers, like insurance documents, medical records, and IDs in a waterproof container, so you can grab and go without fretting over soggy documents.

Oh, and let’s not forget about personal hygiene items. Stockpile wet wipes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for… let’s just say ‘creative sanitation solutions’. And ladies and gents, let’s not even pretend we don’t need those personal hygiene products. Obviously, you’ve got to feel human to survive like one.

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Pro Tip: A whistle might just save your life—three sharp blasts is the universal distress signal. So throw one in the kit—better safe than sorry!

Keep your kit in a designated place and ensure everyone in your household knows where it is. Do drills if you have to—make it fun, make it serious, but most of important of all, make it happen. When disaster knocks on your door, you want to be ready to answer with a confident smile and a kit that says, ‘I got this’.

Create an Evacuation Plan

Create an Evacuation Plan

All right, let’s dive into planning your great escape—the evacuation plan. Because sometimes, despite your fortress of a home, Mother Nature throws a curveball mean enough to make staying put a no-go. So, here’s the skinny on crafting an exit strategy that’s smoother than a politician at a fundraising dinner.

First off, know your routes. Pull up a map and chart out at least two different ways to skedaddle out of your neighborhood. Roads might be blocked or jammed, so having alternatives is key. And listen, if officials say ‘Get out!’, you don’t dilly-dally, you don’t pack your plant collection—you vamoose with efficiency.

Now, tag your peeps—identify a meet-up spot outside your immediate area. It could be Aunt Betty’s house two towns over or the designated community center. It’s important everyone knows where to regroup if you get separated.

Communication during a hurricane can be as unpredictable as a cat on catnip. Designate a family member or friend outside the danger zone to be your communication hub. When texts, calls, or carrier pigeons (hey, it’s a hurricane, expect the unexpected) come in, they can keep tabs on who’s where and relay messages.

Let’s not neglect your furry friends: If you’re evacuating, they’re evacuating—no ifs, ands, or woofs about it. Make sure to locate pet-friendly shelters or hotels ahead of time, and keep a pet emergency kit handy (think food, leash, and that squeaky toy that drives you nuts—Fido loves it).

Emergencies are zero fun for kiddos, so involve them in the planning. Let them choose a special toy or game to bring along, and explain the plan like you’re the coolest teacher ever. It keeps the fear at bay and makes them feel like part of the team. They’ll appreciate that more than you know.

Papers, please: Gather the important documents you might need, like birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports—whatever proves you’re you. Keep these docs in a waterproof container because sopping wet papers are about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

And for the love of logistics, keep your gas tank at least half full during hurricane season. You do not want to be that person on E, queuing up at the pump when you should be miles away, singing along to “Life is a Highway.”

Remember: In the rush of a hurricane hustle, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. Do some dry runs of your evacuation. Make it a game if you like—”Escape from Hurricane Hollow” or something. It’s just practice, but when it’s game day for real, you’ll be cool as a cucumber.

Finally, after you’ve packed, planned, and practiced, keep an ear out for instructions from local emergency management officials. They’ve got the 411 on the hurricane haps, and following their advice can make all the difference in safely navigating the storm’s tango.

Think of all this preparation like a seatbelt—it might feel unnecessary at times, but when you hit that unexpected bump, you’ll be grateful it’s there. Stay safe, stay smart, and let’s get through hurricane season together, one plan at a time.

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