Preparing you home for a hurricane that is bearing down on your area can often be key in saving your home and saving money on home repairs. This may sound a bit mercenary but the first thing you need to check is your insurance documentation, ensure that your policy is paid up and in good standing. It is important to know exactly what your home owners or flood insurance policy does or does not cover. Battoning down the hatches means more than just tying or strapping down everything on and around your house that is not nailed down or firmly attached. You may want to cover your roof and strap everything down as well as you can to anchors that are firmly anchored into the ground, but only after you board up your windows and any doors with large glass panes. You will also want to secure any valuables and turn everything off before you evacuate your home.
First things first, ensure that if you live in an area that is prone to storm damage or hurricanes, you have the right amount and type of flood or homeowner’s insurance to cover any damage that a storm may cause to your property. Long before you hear reports that a hurricane is headed your way you should have had a nice long jawjacking conversation with your insurance broker or carrier about the proper level and amount of insurance protection is appropriate for you and your home. Do not let your policy lapse or be canceled, even if, at some point, you have to reduce the amount of coverage to make your insurance more affordable, keep up with your insurance premiums and make sure that your insurance documents are among the important papers that you keep in a safe easy to access place and which, when you evacuate you will take with you.
For your windows and doors, plywood nailed or bolted to the window frame to bear the brunt of the wind and weather, and which can withstand being hit by flying debris in the storm. Leave each window open at least a tiny crack so that you can equalize the barometric pressure in your home. A major difference between the barometric pressure inside a closed structure and outside in the storm can cause your windows to blow out. Leaving them just a small open space will alleviate this concern. While the windows are boarded up from the outside someone should nail sheets or blankets up on the inside of the window frame. This is just a precaution so that if your windows you blow out or break, the window glass is not sifted in with debris, your belongings, water and mud when you come home and begin to clean up.
Any fragile furniture or house items that could be damaged if left where they are, try to move them into a closet or an interior room without exterior windows. Any items that are small and could be damaged, if you have the time, pack them in boxes or crates as you would if you were moving. Put all of these items toward the center of the room packed in as tightly as you can. Use any packing pads, blankets, or even cushions from your furniture to prevent leaving spaces where the furniture and stuff can shift and cause breakage. Cover it all with a tarp or heavy canvas and finally wrap it all up tie or strap it so that all of the fragile furniture, china, etc, are bound together in a large bundle that even in the event of a flood would be far to large or heavy to float out the doorway.
After you have boarded up the major windows and doors, you may want to secure your rooftop as well from the high winds which are associated with a hurricane making landfall. Spreading any spare pieces of plywood over any sections that are already weak or damaged, use tarps or heavy material spread out over your roof like a blanket. Use cargo straps or heavy rope to secure all of the coverings down, then secure the ropes to wooden or metal stakes that are either driven deeply and securely into the ground, or if you have time, or the forethought, anchors which are dug down and cemented into the ground at various strategic locations around your house.
If you live in an area that is more prone to hurricanes than others then you should have a plan for securing your home and your belongings in the event of a hurricane making landfall near your home. You can’t and probably won’t ever think of every single thing that you can do to make your home more secure in a hurricane. These storms pack some pretty powerful winds and torrential rains, even the most common of items can, in a hurricane force wind, be turned into a deadly or potentially damage causing projectile. You should use whatever time that you have not for panicking for for packing and preparing your home to weather the storm as securely as possible.