How to Brace Yourself and Your Home For When A Storm Hits

Home Security
Small Projects and Repairs
By Dikran Seferian August 31, 2021

Whether or not you live in a coastal area, you're probably aware about the dangers of a hurricane. As a matter of fact, hurricanes have the potential to wreak havoc hundreds of miles inland as well. Keeping yourself posted during the tropical storm season is crucial for hurricane preparedness; this involves watching news coverage and keeping an eye out for government-issued warnings. While awareness is a key factor in staying organized during a storm, preparing your house for a storm beforehand is just as important. Preventative measures such as reinforcing the weak points of your house and even backyard maintenance can greatly reduce the risk of costly damage.

When Can You Expect a Storm

According to the CDC, hurricane season begins between mid-May in the Pacific coast and beginning of June in the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts; it can last until the end of November. In the South Pacific, however, hurricanes are more likely to strike around September. In any case, it is important not to wait until the last moment to start preparing for a storm, especially when there’s a hurricane with an ETA on the radar. 

One thing to keep an eye out for is a hurricane watch alert, and don't wait for it to turn into a hurricane warning to take action. The difference between the two is that the former indicates that hurricane conditions are possible in a certain area due to sustained winds. This kind of alert is announced 48 hours before tropical winds are predicted to start. The latter, on the other hand, refers to expected hurricane winds and is announced 36 hours prior to the forecasted conditions. 

What to Plan for When the Storm Hits

If you decide to stay in during the storm, first of all you need to determine if it’s safe enough to do so. While it is true that hurricanes can sometimes be relatively mild, you will still have to keep your family and yourself protected — especially during the rougher periods of the storm. Locate a safe zone in your house, preferably on ground level and away from windows. Since you’re not going to be going anywhere, you’ll need a contingency plan to get through the storm as smoothly as possible. 

Stock Up on Supplies

A hurricane has the potential to shut down an entire city, leaving you without supplies for an uncertain amount of time. Make sure to stock up on everything from food, water, medicine, and other basic necessities that would last for at least three to four days. Having an emergency kit including batteries, flashlights, a portable radio, chargers, first aid, and other essentials is also a crucial measure you should take.

Provisions You Would Need In an Emergency Situation

Provisions You Would Need In an Emergency Situation

Be Ready for Extended Power Outages

Besides causing electrical surges, a hurricane can also cut off a whole grid. This would leave dozens of neighborhoods in the dark for days. If you plan on staying in during the storm and its direct aftermath, be prepared for an extended power outage by investing in a generator. Consider one that’s big enough to operate your fridge and charge phones.

Unplug Electronic Appliances

The best way you can protect your home appliances from burning out in an electric surge is by simply unplugging them. Once they’re off the grid, they should be fine.

Contain Leaks

Have a few buckets and towels ready in case you come across leaks around the house. While you might have reinforced your insulation, there’s no telling how resilient a hurricane can be.

Repair on the Spot

Make sure to set aside some nails and boards should a window break loose. Although it is advised not to approach windows during a storm, doing immediate repairs prevents the damage from aggravating. However and by all means necessary, mind your safety when carrying out the repairs. Note that this isn't likely to happen during mild storms when it's okay to remain in your house — especially if you have shutters installed. 

Stay Posted

Whether you’re staying in or evacuating, always keep a portable radio at hand. Local radio stations will often make constant updates about any developments taking place before, during, and after the storm. For you and your family’s convenience and safety, stay tuned for any announcements regarding areas to avoid, blocked roads, evacuation centers, and other critical information (such as confirmation that it is safe to leave the house).

How to Prepare Your House in Advance of Hurricane Season

While taking emergency measures allows you and your family to make it through an extreme storm, hurricane-proofing your house in advance is just as important. For the most part, such preparations involve basic maintenance procedures. As trivial as they may seem, these procedures go a long way in getting your house ready for hurricane season — especially when paired with a few additional steps. 

Trim Your Shrubbery and Trees

Winds during extreme storms can be strong enough to send chunks of trees flying to oblivion. Moreover, branches that are close to the roof can scrape off tiles while being thrashed by the storm. Trimming down your greenery will allow the wind to blow through without taking everything with it. You could also re-grade your trees to prevent them from being up-rooted in even more extreme cases.

Measures You Can Take to Minimize Storm Damage

Measures You Can Take to Minimize Storm Damage

Check for Openings

Hurricanes normally involve a great deal of heavy rain which can easily make its way into your house through openings in your house. Make sure to inspect doors, windows, and walls for any air leaks; apply sealant or caulking where necessary. It is important to see this step through in advance because when the storm hits, you should steer clear of windows and doors.

Clear the Gutters 

Make sure everything from gutters, drainage, and downpipes are in check. Clear any blockages to prevent the risk of downspouts flooding your house. As part of a seasonal maintenance, remove dead leaves and other debris from the gutters all the way down to the drain.

Why Outdoor Maintenance Can Be Crucial for a Rainy Day

Why Outdoor Maintenance Can Be Crucial for a Rainy Day

Clear Outdoor Clutter

Keep in mind that anything that’s lying around in your yard could be flying around during the storm. Bring anything that’s light enough to be hurled away such as deck chairs, pots, and even trampolines inside. Projectile objects can cause a lot of damage to cars, windows, and anything — or anyone — else in the way. Note that an object’s weight is multiplied by the velocity at which it's flying, thereby strengthening its hit. Whatever you absolutely don’t have space to store indoors for can be tied down to a nice and sturdy tree as far away from the house as possible.

Last Minute Exterior Maintenance

Check that the deck, porch posts, and fences in your lawn are properly anchored to the ground. Any piece that’s slightly loose can be launched to who knows where. As for roofing, an inspection in advance won’t hurt, to make sure that the tiles or shingles are firmly in place. Replace any that are broken, cracked, or misplaced as they are a potential hazard. Consider hiring a professional to get the job done more safely.

Secure Your Windows and Doors

You can never be too safe during a hurricane. Heavy winds and projectiles can easily make their way into your house through its weak points. Windows, doors, and roofs will need special protection in the case of severe weather. Consider installing a storm door and reinforcing the main one with heavy-duty bolts. As for windows, securing them with wind shutters is a smart precaution. Make sure to mount the shutters on the wall around the window instead of the window frame itself. Other security measures include roof clippings to hold your roof in place and garage door braces to prevent the door from being torn off.

How To Protect Your House from Severe Conditions

How To Protect Your House from Severe Conditions

Review Your Insurance Policy

Severe storms can cause all kinds of damage to a house. You may want to take a moment to review your home insurance policy. Make sure it covers hurricane-related damages. If not, consider upgrading the insurance plan.

Having an Emergency Plan 

During an emergency situation, having a plan as a family is utterly crucial. Make sure the plan is as comprehensive as possible. Designate a safe meeting point away from the danger zone. Also, determine which routes would be the safest if you were to evacuate. If you have pets, take their safety and bare necessities into consideration as well; you wouldn’t want to leave them behind. It is also a good idea to have contacts from outside the city in case local landlines are down. Consider having a backup plan as well, in case the initial one is hindered by unexpected events —you can never be too sure in such situations, especially if the hurricane takes a turn for the worse.

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian