Preparing your home for a hurricane or tropical storm can save lives and property. Different regions are prone to distinct weather patterns. The Midwest and Northeast are known for heavy snows and bitterly cold winters, while the Pacific Northwest is known for heavy near-constant rainfall. The South-Central states see regular devastation from tornadoes, and the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida peninsula are yearly targets for hurricanes and tropical storms.
Other regions have different methods of preparation for specific situations, but a few disaster preparedness tips and tricks are universal. Tornado Roofing is familiar with the damages that a tropical storm or hurricane can cause. We’ve made it our business to learn the best techniques for preventing and repairing damage around these storms.
Preparing Your Home for a Natural Disaster
There are a few base steps in preparing for a natural disaster. The specifics change based on where you live and what type of disaster you’re expecting, but the foundation is still the same.
Build a plan for you and your family and review it frequently. Evacuation or shelter in place plans differ in how they’re executed and how you prepare for them.
Hurricane Watch vs. Hurricane Warning
There is a difference between these two terms. It’s easy to confuse them, but important to understand what each one means.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are being watched by weather professionals on the weather radar. This is the prime time to check your preparations: fill the car’s gas tank, move vehicles under shelter or away from potential falling debris, double-check your go-bags, start preparing to secure your home, and clear the yard of things that might fly away in the storm. Call and verify evacuation plans with close friends and family. A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the storm hits land.
A hurricane warning means that the storm has picked up traction, and is 36 hours or less from landfall. As the storm moves closer, meteorologists are able to better predict the severity of the storm and direct shelter in place or evacuations.
Shelter In Place
For shelter in place, you’ll want to make sure your home is ready for you to stay in it for several days, possibly without running water or power. When you get the Hurricane Watch alert, it’s time to fill containers of water, stock up on foods you don’t need heat to prepare, double-check your emergency kits and get your family ready to hunker down.
When you’re told to evacuate, you won’t have more than a couple of minutes to take action. Having a bag prepared for each member of your family, and stored in an out of the way, but easily accessed location could be the difference between life or death in some drastic cases.
Have a Plan to Close Your Home
Some people swear by storm windows, but they don’t do any good for you and your home if they’re not ready to go when the storm season hits. Hurricane season begins in June for the east coast, Atlantic Ocean Islands, and the Gulf of Mexico areas. May is the beginning point for the Pacific Islands and West Coast.
Research the best options for closing and securing your windows to protect your house. Discuss the plans with someone you can depend on to help you prepare for the landfall of the storm. When the winds and rain pick up, you won’t be able to safely board your own windows without a helping hand.
Make sure your home and your belongings are insured against water and weather damage. Look at the fine print, because no plan is going to protect your house 100%. There will be damage in a large storm, and you’ll need to be prepared to handle the aftermath.
Gather Important Documents, Phone Numbers, and an Emergency Kit
Log all of your emergency phone numbers on your cell phone and keep a physical copy on your refrigerator or near your home phone. Keep an easily accessible emergency binder or folder, and fill it with your important documents, such as:
- Phone numbers of emergency contacts
- Photocopies of identification, passports, wills, medical documents, etc.
- Medication lists
- Addresses of friends and family you can call on to shelter you
- Photographs of your kids, partners, pets
- Emergency cash
- Any other documents that may be useful in the transition between the event and recovery efforts.
Prepare a Go-Bag
In a go-bag, also referred to as a bug-out-bag, you’ll want a few days of clean water, nourishing food, medications, small comforts for your children. If you’re bugging out with pets, make sure you have food and water for them as well. Don’t forget power cords, emergency power banks, flashlights, and spare batteries. A change of clothes is also important to prevent chafing and blisters once you reach a safe and dry space to shelter in.
Discuss Rendezvous Plans with Neighbors, Friends, and Family
Those in your household will know your gameplan if you’re evacuating from home. What if the evacuation order happens when you’re at work, or your children are at school? Community is important in times of natural disasters. If you’re away from your home, but your neighbor is there, they can check for your family and pets, help close up your house, and do what they can to help.
If you get separated at the time of the event, you’ll be able to reunite with your family if everyone knows where to meet. Some communities even have shelters designated for regularly occurring storms and events. It’s often a sturdy school gymnasium or similar structure built to withstand storms. Memorize and practice the route to the closest shelter point. Make sure that this shelter is available for families and pets if needed.
Prepare for Flooding
People expect high winds, debris, and rain, but they often forget about the floods that come with hurricanes. While you’re traveling for evacuation, don’t drive through flooded roads, or on elevated roads if you can avoid it. These areas lose their structure quickly in flash floods and can wash you and your car off the road and down an unexpected river.
Once the Storm Passes
Take the time to be thankful for your blessings, and then get to work helping your community recover. Assess damage to your home and the properties around you. Help clean up debris to remove excess dangers from your neighborhoods. Call a professional to discuss repairs to roofing, building structures, and any electrical damage from the storm. Contact your insurance company and report damages so that you can get repairs underway.
Tornado Roofing Resources
At Tornado Roofing, we have decades of experience working in the aftermath of hurricanes and tropical storms, freak accidents, general wear, tear, and damage to Florida rooflines. We are dedicated to getting your home back in working order as quickly as we can. If you’ve experienced storm-related damage or would like to have your roof inspected for previous damage, give us a call.
Annual roofing inspections are advisable in high storm regions and can prevent catastrophic damage. An incorrectly repaired roof can collapse, or detach in a bad storm. It becomes a significant liability that could be prevented. Give us a call, or drop us an email to discuss your preventative needs before storm season.