Tips to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that bring high winds and heavy rain. The season begins on May 15 in the North Pacific and June 1 in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Before Hurricane season, ensure that your home and family are protected by planning ahead with the following safety measures to help your home withstand any major damage.

Have an evacuation plan—Decide where you will go for safety and how you will get there. Ascertain that the location is a safe enough temporary shelter. The best protection is a windowless, sturdy building on higher ground you can move to before a flood reaches you. If you cannot leave your home, find a centralized room away from outside windows and doors. Make sure at least one family member knows first aid and CPR. Contact your local emergency management authority to see if they have an evacuation route or a system with other organizations to house evacuees temporarily.

Secure your home’s exterior—Trim large bushes and trees and bring patio furniture and other outdoor items inside. Tie down larger, stationary items with rope and burlap, such as grills or propane tanks. Protect windows from shatter with storm shutters, plywood, and impact-resistant glass. Landscape your yard to ensure flood water is redirected away from your foundation. Clean out drains, gutters, and downspouts. Consider installing backflow preventers and flood vents. Other considerations are purchasing a sump pump with battery backup and stockpiling sandbags.

Move your cars—Park in the garage or move to higher ground. Do not park near power lines, and never drive through flooded roads.

Prepare for power outages and protect major appliances—If recommended by authorities, turn off breakers to avoid power surges. Make sure all electronic devices are charged and have extra fuel ready.
Test your generator but do not use a portable one inside the home. Unplug and move appliances and electronics away from doors and windows. Store them in cabinets or closets. Elevate washers, dryers, HVAC units, water heaters, and other large appliances to a concrete base.

Prepare an emergency kit—Gather flashlights, batteries, warm clothing, non-perishable food, water, cash, toiletries, and medicine.

Store important documents—Take inventory of all personal and valuable items such as art, jewelry, legal documents, certificates, and photos, and secure them in a safety deposit box or waterproof safe. Keep emergency phone numbers handy or program them into your cell phone.

Protect pets and care for the vulnerable—Your pet should have a collar, tag, or microchip. Keep a leash or carrier near the exit. Prepare a disaster kit for your pet’s needs, such as food and water. Get advice from your local hospital, public health department, or police on special accommodations for children and older family members.

Obtain flood insurance—Explore coverage options with your homeowner’s insurance agency and have them determine your flood risk. Due to a waiting period before flood policy coverage goes into effect, it’s important to act early or it may be too late.

Stay informed—Stay updated with weather reports through radio, TV, or the internet during early signs of an upcoming storm. Sign up for free emergency alerts from your local government. Have a battery powered radio as a backup.

Natural disasters like hurricanes can strike at any time. The best way to minimize damage is to be
prepared. With a planned response, you can protect your family and prevent devastating damage to your
home caused by severe winds and flooding.