There is nothing more terrifying for homeowners than a natural disaster. Hurricanes wreak havoc and cause chaos to whatever is in their path. Thankfully, there are some ways that you can increase the safety of your home when a disaster strike. While it is, of course, easier to hurricane-proof a house as it is being built, it’s not impossible to make changes to an existing house.
These are some of the most useful steps you can take to ensure your house remains as safe as it possibly can be during a hurricane.
It’s no secret that hurricanes can be terrifying and destructive in equal parts. Only a few years ago Hurricane Irma destroyed large swathes of the Caribbean and Florida, with the only relief being from selfless organisations that started emergency appeals and, of course, our emergency services.
One of the tools that could have been the most useful in preventing some of the needless damage was the hurricane shutter.
Many people think that plywood boarding is a substitute for hurricane shutters, but that is simply not the case. When debris is hurled at your windows with the strength of hurricane force winds, a piece of plywood just isn’t going to stop it. Hurricane shutters are specifically designed with this in mind, meaning that they’re far more likely to prevent damage to your house.
The cheapest options are aluminum and they are also very effective. However, if you’d like a more attractive option then accordion-style shutters are made in a variety of materials and are generally more aesthetically pleasing.
When it comes to using hurricane shutters properly, there are two very important things to remember. The first is to only use them during hurricane season. If the shutters are left on your home year round they can pose a serious risk, blocking off windows that act as escape routes in the case of a fire.
The next thing to remember about shutters is that they need regular maintenance. At least once a year, ideally just before the start of the season, you should have a professional check your shutters for cracks, damage or rust. Wash them down with a mild soap and remember to open and close them at least once every 6 months to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
Investing in a standby generator is a great way to give yourself piece of mind if a hurricane should strike and take down the power. All too often electricity lines are severed, leaving you at best scared in the dark, or at worst totally cut off and without heat, light or electricity for days at a time. A standby generator fuelled by petrol, gas or hard fuels is a fantastic emergency tool to ensure that if disaster does strike, you’ll be able to keep yourself warm, dry and safe until the worst of the weather subsides.
Clean Your Gutters
Although it’s one of the jobs that can easily fall to the back of the list, keeping guttering and drains clear from debris is vitally important when it comes to withstanding a hurricane. With hurricanes comes a lot of water, so being able to keep your home draining freely is very important if you don’t want to end up flooded.
Make sure that gutters, drainpipes and ground drains are cleaned at least once before hurricane season, but ideally more frequently. Regular cleaning will prevent any build-up and the whole job will be much quicker. Consider installing quality gutter guards to avoid having to clean your gutters altogether.
Clear the Garden
As you undertake your gutter clean it’s a good idea to keep your garden in good shape too. Debris left around the lawn could be swept up and deposited on the house, with some force. Keep rocks and rubbish away from the home entirely and remember to remove barbecues, lawnmowers and other equipment after use. A storage bin rooted in concrete, or better still a safe space in the garage is a great idea for keeping your tools safe.