So far 2012 has brought us an unseasonably warm winter, a rainy Spring, a delightfully hot Summer, and a rather unpredictable Fall. Global warming is proving to us that weather patterns are a bit more erratic now and serious storms are occurring more frequently. Living along the East Coast here in Boston we have just witnessed the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Many New Englanders relocated to higher grounds as the voracious storm is predicted to produce damaging winds and floods. Many of us Bostonians were planning for the hurricane only a few days in advance in the best way we knew how, once made aware that we'd been faced with imminent danger. It seems we are really only truly concerned once faced with the potential gravity of the situation. Now would be a great opportunity to plan ahead so we can take the appropriate steps to get educated on some preventative measures for future severe weather. Let's take a look at some tips to hurricane proof your home.
Trees: Don't overlook what may be your favorite part of your property: The yard. Lush greenery is very essential to many people's homes. One thing you can do to protect yourself from massive damage is to do a survey of the trees surrounding your home. Look for trees that are: Leaning to one side, could benefit from a good trimming in case of severe winds, are in contact with power lines, hanging over the house, have insect infestations, or have mushrooms growing from the bark. You want to check for these things because it is important your trees are in the best and sturdiest condition possible. If it is likely the trees are susceptible to collapse, your home will be in much greater danger.
Support Your Windows: It is entirely possible to have stylishly elegant AND protective windows. Consider installing impact resistant windows, which are warranted against corrosion for the life of the products and protects against forced entry, unwanted noise and as the name clearly implies, resists impact. A great deal of damage comes from the failure of windows and doors. Houses can often collapse from pressure on your roof and walls due to breached windows. Since Boston doesn't see a great deal of damaging weather, storm shutters are a great investment, provided you install them correctly. And while we are on the topic of reinforcing your windows (and doors), don't think that using your body to brace the windows/doors in your house will help you prevent further damage. That only puts yourself in harm's way by making yourself susceptible to dirt, debris, and harmful materials that might come your way.
Reinforce Your Roof: We've all seen pictures and videos of devastating destruction from natural disasters. You've seen the roof tops just get blown off completely by serious winds, leaving the rest of the home exposed and bare. To prevent roof damage, go to your local hardware store for a specially formulated weatherproof-grade construction adhesive that has a reputable rating like APA AFG-01 ASTM D 3498. Use this on the underside of your roof where the roof meets the support beams.
IF YOU ARE EXPECTING A HURRICANE IN THE NEAR FUTURE:
- Bring all non-not permanent fixtures that could potentially float outside, inside your home (Think: garbage cans, outdoor furniture, etc)
- If you already have them, close your storm shutters.
- Have a portable generator (only to be used outdoors) ready if you are experiencing a power loss
- Have a supply of the following items: non-perishable food items that are simple to prepare (make sure to include plenty of water), batteries, medication, extra cash, cellphone with chargers, blankets battery powered radio, first-aid kit and multi-purpose tools
- Make sure to turn off propane gas supplies.
Even though it may seem like quite an expense to take these preventative measures ahead of time, it is well worth investing in hurricane-proofing your home. Taking such measures increases your home's (or business') value, protects you and your family from less damage, results in filing fewer and lower insurance claims, and allows you to get back to life as usual quicker. As the old adage goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.