By Jim Gustin
Property Technical Director, Risk Control
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Your level of preparation before a hurricane can have a significant impact on how well you weather the storm and how quickly you recover from it. Consider preparing your home, inside and out, long before a storm is in the forecast. In the end, you can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting your loved ones and your property from hurricanes and other extreme weather events.
You may hear the terms "Hurricane Watch" and "Hurricane Warning" in your local forecast. Understanding the difference between them is essential to helping you prepare for a hurricane. As soon as a Hurricane Watch or Hurricane Warning is forecast for your area, it is important, depending on the type of alert, to immediately begin or complete your preparations.
A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. Begin stocking up on emergency supplies in the event a warning is issued. If you live in a coastal area, you also should be prepared to evacuate.
A Hurricane Warning is more serious. Hurricane-force winds (74 mph or higher) are expected to hit your area within 36 hours. Seek shelter or evacuate, if notified to do so.
Fill your emergency generator fuel tank, if you have one, and have spare fuel on hand. Store generator fuel in an approved container in a garage or shed, away from open flames, heat sources and appliances such as natural gas appliances.
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1. Help Avoid Water Damage
Heavy rains have the potential to cause significant water damage. These tips can help you prepare your home.
2. Monitor Your Trees
In a powerful windstorm, trees can be a hazard. Broken limbs or fallen trees — even uprooted shrubbery — could damage your home and fences, or your neighbor's property.
Routinely maintain the trees around your home:
3. Roofs, Doors, Windows and Skylights
It is important to keep wall openings, such as doors, windows and skylights protected. The roof, doors and windows of your house are especially vulnerable to wind damage. When houses are exposed to hurricane force winds, roofs are most susceptible to damage, followed by walls and openings such as skylights.
Strengthen doors and windows by:
4. Secure Outdoor Items
If you live in an area that experiences high winds, outdoor items around your property that are not properly anchored can become airborne and cause damage.
5. Strengthen Your Exterior Structure
During a windstorm, wind forces are carried from the roof down to the exterior walls and then to the foundation. Homes can be damaged when wind and wind-driven water gets under the building’s exterior walls if proper controls are not in place.
Strengthen exteriors by employing a contractor to:
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