Preparing a home for a hurricane both in the short term and long term

Short term

N FURNITURE AND PERSONAL BELONGINGS: Move or store furniture, personal belongings and appliances on an upper level of the home if the home is multistory; or place furniture and appliances on concrete blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation for the area in which the home is located. Secure outside items such as lawn and garden equipment.

UTILITIES: Before the home floods, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so. After flooding, local utility companies may require that service be restored only by a trained utility representatives.

SEWER: To protect a home from sewer backup, consider having a valve or one-way check valve installed where the sewer main leaves the house. Remember that a sewer system blockage could force water in the home’s drainage system higher than expected.

TEMPORARY BARRIERS: Sandbags and water-inflatable dams can provide temporary, self-supporting barriers to fight against rising floodwaters.

EMERGENCY PLAN: Secure your valuable family data, important documents and photos. Remember to back up electronic computer files and store them on a portable storage device you will take with you, such as birth/health records, insurance policies, tax information and digital photo files.

Source: LSU AgCenter

Future plans

Is the roof sheathing properly installed?

During a windstorm, wind forces are carried from the roof down to the exterior walls, down to the foundation. Homes can be damaged when wind forces are not properly transferred to the ground.

Roof sheathing can fail during a hurricane if not properly installed.

Examine the sheathing from the attic. If many of the nails have missed the rafters, you may need to re-nail the sheathing. If you’re putting on a new roof, make sure the sheathing complies with current recommended practices.

Are end gables securely fastened to the rest of the roof?

In a hurricane or other wind storm, the side walls of the roof, or end gables, take a real beating and can collapse.

GABLE BRACING OFTEN CONSISTS OF 2 X 4 INCH BOARDS PLACED IN AN “X” PATTERN AT BOTH ENDS OF THE ATTIC: From the top center of the end gable to the bottom of the brace of the fourth truss, and from the bottom center of the end gable to the peak of the roof.

Is the roof fastened to the walls with hurricane straps?

Hurricane straps made out of galvanized metal help keep the roof fastened to the walls in high winds. They can be difficult to install, so you may need a contractor for this project.

Are double-entry doors secured at the top and bottom?

The exterior walls, doors and windows are the protective shell of your home.

If the shell is broken during a storm, high winds can enter the home and put pressure on the roof and walls, causing serious damage.

For each double door, at least one of the doors should be secured at both the top of the door frame and the floor with sturdy sliding bolts. Most bolts that come with double doors, however, are not strong enough to withstand high winds. Your local hardware store can help you select the proper bolts. Some door manufacturers provide reinforcing bolt kits made specifically for their doors.

SOURCE: Federal Emergency Management Agency

Has the garage door been properly secured? w

If the garage door fails, winds can enter your home and blow out doors, windows, walls and the roof. Ask your building department for guidance on what to do.

Are windows protected by storm shutters?

Installing storm shutters is one of the most effective ways to protect your home. Purchase or make shutters for all exposed windows, glass surfaces, French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights.

There are many types of manufactured storm shutters available made out of wood, aluminum or steel. You can also make storm shutters with 5/8-inch thick exterior-grade plywood.