Hurricane Florence continues to gather strength as it heads toward North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Mandatory evacuation orders have already been issued for areas on the southern coast and schools are closing.
Track Hurricane Florence as it develops »
We have a few safety suggestions for folks who are staying in their homes. We hope you all stay safe and we encourage you to prepare ahead.
Fortify Windows and Doors
To reduce the possibility that windows might shatter during the storm, you should cover them with shutters or storm panels. Bolted doors can provide additional protection from dangerous winds. To avoid moisture damage, check the seals around doors and windows, and caulk them if necessary. When the storm does arrive, you can stay out of danger by staying away from windows.
Secure Yard Debris
Bring in outdoor furniture, remove lawn ornaments and fallen limbs, and trim tree branches to avoid property damage from windblown items.
Protect your Vehicle and Storage Structures
Fill up your car with gas and park it in a garage, if you can. Garage doors can be vulnerable to wind damage. It is helpful to reinforce your garage door with a brace or wooden beams. Also check outdoor structures, like sheds or decks, to be sure they are secure. If you don’t have a garage, it is recommended that you park your car close to your house and avoid parking under power lines or trees. Drive only if necessary.
Inspect your Roof
Make sure shingles and tiles are secure. You may use hurricane straps or ties to strengthen your roof, by anchoring it more firmly to the frame of your house.
Use Sandbags and Plastic Sheeting
You can reduce the flow of water into your home, and possibly prevent it, by covering a sheet of plastic with sandbags at your doorway. First, place plastic against your door and along the ground in front of the door so that it extends beyond the edges of the doorway. Then, pile sandbags against the door and over the plastic. Continue stacking bags so that the top layer covers the spot where the bags beneath it meet, like stacking bricks.
Test Sump Pumps and Drains
Test sump pumps to be sure they are working properly, and make sure to have fresh backup batteries on hand, so that you can be prepared to remove water in the event that it does enter your home. Inspect drains and gutters to make sure they are unblocked.
Secure Objects Inside the House
With luck, the bad weather will stay outside of your home. You can avoid the possibility of injury and damage inside your home by taking heavy objects down and removing things that are hung on the wall.
Collect Important Documents and Take Photos
Protect valuable documents, like social security cards, wills, car registration, medical prescriptions and photos by storing them in a safe, dry place. That way, they can be moved quickly if evacuation becomes necessary. Take photos of valuable belongings, in case you need to file a claim with your insurance company. It is a good idea to have a disaster kit ready to go.
Once you are safe and secure, this can be a great time to reconnect with family members. Even if the power goes out, you can entertain each other by playing board games and musical instruments. Light some candles and tell each other spooky stories!
Bad weather will always come. We hope some of these tips help you create shelter in the storm.