If you live in an area that is prone to wind damage from hurricanes and other weather events, being prepared in advance is key to protecting your property, family and finances. The sooner you plan for disaster, the better. Because once a hurricane is surging through your hometown, you probably won’t have time to make a shopping list and go to the store for supplies.
One of the most important steps in hurricane protection is boarding up the windows and sliding glass doors. You may have heard that taping windows is helpful, but though it may keep glass shards from flying all around your home, it’s not a good enough solution to prevent flying debris from crashing through the windows in the first place.
And while your family should take cover in a room with no windows, it’s still helpful to protect the windows from breaking. For starters, it can be expensive to replace your home’s windows. But more importantly, windows that remain intact prevent the wind from wreaking havoc inside your home. In fact, the upward pressure of wind streaming in from broken windows may be strong enough to blow the roof off, which may result in a total loss of your house.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective methods of protecting windows is to purchase 3/4-inch plywood boards, cut to the measurements of your windows. Drill screw holes at 18-inch intervals around the boards, and store the boards and screws (and a screwdriver or drill) in an easily accessible location so you can grab and install them quickly if the need arises.
In addition to boarding the windows, you should also regularly trim and remove dead tree branches to minimize what could become a projectile in a windstorm. When a storm is predicted, store patio furniture and other outdoor objects in the garage or shed.
In case you need to evacuate, you should keep an emergency kit ready to go. Fill it with non-perishable food, fresh water, medications, important documents, clean clothes, a weather radio with extra batteries and any other necessary items. Your family should plan where you’ll go and how you’ll contact each other in case you get separated.
One last way to prepare for a hurricane is to speak with your independent insurance agent to ensure your home insurance policy includes windstorm coverage.