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Protect your home against hurricanes

Date: 05/30/20

Hurricanes can cause a lot of destruction, and sometimes you can't prevent damage to your home. But there are some things you can do before a storm comes to help reduce harm caused by wind and water.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) offers these steps to get your home ready when a storm is headed your way:

  • Bring things indoors. Bring items like lawn furniture and children’s toys indoors. Objects left outside may fly around and damage your home.
  • Look out for possible hazards. Keep an eye out for objects around your property that could break off and fly around in high winds. Make the trees near your home more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged branches.
  • Turn off electricity and water. Turn off electricity at the main fuse or breaker. Turn off water at the main valve.
  • Leave natural gas on. If you evacuate, make sure to leave natural gas on. You will need it for heating and cooking when you return home. If your gas is turned off, a licensed professional must turn it back on. After a hurricane, getting it turned on again may take weeks.
  • Use sandbags to keep water away from your home. If flooding is expected, use sandbags to keep water from getting in your home. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a wall one foot high and 20 feet long. Be sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
  • Cover the outside of windows. Use shutters or plywood to protect your windows from windblown debris. Buy precut outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. To make putting them up faster in case of an emergency, install anchors for the plywood and predrill holes in the plywood. Using tape on windows does not prevent windows from breaking and is not recommended.
  • Move fragile objects to safer areas of your home. Move electronic equipment like televisions and computers to higher levels of your home and away from windows. If possible, wrap them in sheets, blankets or burlap.
  • Record of all of your household possessions. Make a record of all your possessions that could be damaged or lost. Take pictures and write down model and serial numbers. This list proves the value of what you own in case anything is damaged or destroyed. Do this for all items in your home. That includes expensive items such as sofas and beds which are too heavy to move. Store a copy of the record with your other important documents in your emergency kit. Don’t have an emergency kit packed? Find out what to include and make one today!

Find more information about how to prepare your family for hurricane season at www.GetAGamePlan.org.