WSVN — Preparing your house and yard for wind and water can be time-consuming. Here’s what you need to know to protect your property.
The very things that make our homes beautiful are the things that can become dangerous, flying projectiles during a storm.
Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll: “Anything that can be picked up by winds, even as little as 40 miles an hour should be properly secured.”
Carroll says start your storm preps outside by bringing loose items inside.
Ignatius Carroll: “When you are walking around the house, you want to check items like lights that you have here in the front. Make sure that you remove these, and you also want to look and see for planters. You have a planter here that’s on the porch. You want to take all pots and plants and take them inside the house.”
Patio furniture should also be removed. You should also consider taking down satellite dishes and security cameras. And make sure your rain gutters are clear and securely attached to the house.
During storm season, you should keep your trees and coconuts trimmed.
Ignatius Carroll: “Those tend to come off and become projectiles that can crash into windows, into cars and could definitely injure someone.”
But you don’t want to place yard waste at the curb when a storm is approaching. If it’s not picked up, it could also become a dangerous projectile.
You should also regularly inspect your windows and roof before and during storm season.
Erik Salna: “It is very difficult to keep that water out, but it does come through. It can come through the doors, it can come through the windows, and it can come through areas of the roof.”
Make sure that your windows are sealed. Also, have a plan to cover any roof vents. Wind-driven rain is your enemy when a storm hits. Erik Salna of the FIU hurricane research center says doors can be especially vulnerable to high winds.
Erik Salna: “If you haven’t done anything yet, at least consider getting a brand new, code approved, impact resistant, wind-rated hurricane door.”
As for your pool, you can lower the water level a couple of inches, and make sure you cover your pool pump.
If South Florida is in the cone of concern for a storm. Start up your generator to make sure it’s working properly and buy gas. You should also buy propane for your grill so you have a place to cook if you lose power.
As you move your hurricane preps inside, start with your garage.
Ignatius Carroll: “You want to make sure that, number one, the garage door is properly sealed. Go around the edges and make sure that there is no potential for winds to come in.”
If you are keeping your car in the garage, make sure you can open the door manually in case the power goes out. After a storm warning is issued, unplug any unnecessary appliances and electronics. That will protect them from a power surge.
You should also set your fridge on the coldest setting. The same goes for the A.C.
Ignatius Carroll: “Once a hurricane warning has been issued, another thing that you want to consider is with your A.C. unit. You want to cut your thermostat down so that it will begin to cool the house and keep it cool in the event that the power goes off.”
And most importantly, find a safe room, like an interior bathroom or office, for your family to safely ride out the storm.
Craig Stevens: You should also keep important documents like bank and insurance papers with you in the safe room in a waterproof container. And remember, now is the time to think about how you will prepare your property.
Erik Salna: “All of us have to take a personal responsibility and accountability to prepare our family and to protect our home.”
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