Tips for preparing houses before storms

LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - In lieu of Hurricane Matthew, home preparedness is important when experiencing rough weather.

Securing loose items and making sure they are inside of your home is important. “When you’re walking around your house, you want to check items, like lights you have in the front,” said Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll. “You also want to look for planters. Do you have a planter here on the porch? Take all pots and plants inside the house.”

Not only should plants and lights be removed but patio furniture, possibly satellite dishes and security cameras. Make sure rain gutters are secured, as well.

During storm season, it is important to keep trees and coconuts trimmed, as they may serve as projectiles in strong storms.

Yard waste placed on the corner of streets or in driveways could be dangerous, as they may be projected into cars and homes.

Make sure windows are sealed, and there is a plan for covering roof vents. “It is very difficult to keep that water out,” said FIU Hurricane Research Center’s Erik Salna. “It can come through the door. It can come through the windows, and it can come through areas of the roof.”

Sandbags are on many checklists, and, on Wednesday, cities across South Florida gave away thousands of sandbags.

Some places, like The Public Works Compound in Hallandale Beach and Rudy’s Ready Mix in West Miami-Dade, gave them away for free.

Hallandale Beach residents flocked to The Public Works Compound and were allowed six bags with proper identification. “It’s a blessing,” said one resident. “We wanted to be first in line so, you know, we wouldn’t have to wait so long because we have other things to do.”

Rudy’s Ready Mix handed out as many as 500 total sandbags after giving away about 1,000 bags, Tuesday.

Doral Central Park at 3000 NW 87th Ave. gave away as many as 10 free sandbags to residents that provide ID.

At 200 Goolsby Blvd. in Deerfield Beach, sandbags are continuing to be handed out, as well. This will last until 11 a.m., Thursday.

For those with backyard pools, it is advised to lower the water level.

Don’t forget to start-up your generators to test functionality. Make sure to buy gas and propane if you have a grill.

Garage doors should be checked for any cracks or ways that heavy rain can get inside households. “You wanna make that, number one: Your garage door is properly sealed,” said Carroll. “You wanna go around the edges and make sure there’s no way for wind to get in.”

If cars are left in the garage, make sure you can open your garage door manually in the event of a power failure.

After a storm warning is issued, unplug any unnecessary appliances and electronics. This could prevent a power surge from damaging these items.

If power is lost, it is recommended to lower the temperature of your fridge and A/C. “It will begin to cool the house, and keep it cool, in the event the power goes off,” said Carroll.

Inside of the house, make sure to keep important documents inside of Tupperware containers and in a safe, if possible.

Stores, like Home Depot, are attempting to make preparations easier by offering a checklist with items that include plywood and sandbags.

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