How Safe Is Your Home?
- Do you have a NOAA Weather Radio or other battery-operated means of monitoring the weather?
Florida's changeable climate demands careful attention to the weather. Keep your family safe by staying aware of changing weather conditions. Remember, power outages can occur at anytime, so battery-operation is a must.
- Do you have a family disaster plan that includes two possible evacuation routes and alternative lodging arrangements?
Building a family disaster plan is half the formula for disaster safety, the other is making sure your family knows the drill. Conduct a practice or drill at least once per year to keep family members aware of your plan for safety. Don't forget to designate a meeting place to use if you are separated.
- Have you created disaster survival kit?
Keep the following supplies handy and put them together in a water-tight container: flashlight with extra batteries, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, prescription medications, eyeglasses, one gallon of water per person, non-perishable foods, medical equipment and devices, one change of clothes per person, sleeping bag, checkbook, cash/credit cards and important papers (driver's license, social security card, deeds, leases, insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates, stocks, bonds, wills and recent tax returns.
- Do you have a system or plan for how to cover windows and doors in the advent of a severe windstorm or hurricane?
The most important step you can take in preparing for a windstorm is to make sure that your "building envelope" is sealed. That means tightly covering all windows and doors to prevent the wind from entering. If you can keep the wind outside, you and your possessions will be safe inside.
- Do you have a way to cover or reinforce your garage door?
Garage doors are frequently so large that, during a hurricane, they can wobble and actually pull out of the track or collapse. Ideally, they should be equipped with steel bracing. Many manufacturers sell wind rated doors, and retrofit kits are available at building supply stores.
- Is your roof secured?
Roofs are especially vulnerable during hurricanes, but there are ways to reduce your exposure before a storm strikes. Professionally installed hurricane straps are important because they bind your roof to the walls of your house, forming a single, strong unit. You should also have truss bracing running the length of the roof. Tile and gabled roofs need special attention too. Register with FLASH to receive free informational brochures.
- If you have screened enclosures, do you know how to open the screens to allow the wind to pass through?
Regularly inspect the cross braces, fasteners and clips holding framing and screening in place. Also check the metal columns for corrosion where they meet the deck. When a storm is approaching, remove a six foot wide panel on each side of the enclosure to allow the wind to pass through. Simply pull out the rubber tubing.
- Are all storage sheds and other outbuildings securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors?
If you have furniture and other outdoor equipment on your patio, lanai or deck, bring it inside when strong weather threatens. Don't forget trash cans, yard debris and anything that can become a lethal flying missile that threatens people and property.