Hurricane Recovery: How to Protect Your Home Before and After the Storm

Ellie Brooks

Written By Ellie Brooks

Published 12/12/22
Hurricane Recovery: How to Protect Your Home Before and After the Storm

Millions of American homes on the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast are at risk of hurricanes. Are you prepared?

Hurricane recovery time is of course dependent on the severity of the storm and its associated consequences, but the extent of your preparation is a factor as well. In this post, Liberty Home Guard will share how to prepare your home and family from a hurricane or similarly destructive storm. We’ll also describe what to do to recover in the storm’s wake.

Who Should Prepare for a Hurricane?

Hurricanes comprise a class of tropical cyclones, or low-pressure systems characterized by rotating configurations of thunderstorms. To be classified as a true hurricane, the storm system must have sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour. 

Hurricanes form in the tropics of the Caribbean and Atlantic. When a storm develops, it can track northwest over the west coast of Florida or the Gulf of Mexico, or north along the Eastern Seaboard.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tracks data to determine the locations that are most at risk of being hit by hurricanes. South Florida, much of the Florida Panhandle—notably the Forgotten Coast—and the coasts of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas are most likely to be affected by hurricanes. On the East Coast, North Carolina is also at high risk. The likelihood of encountering a hurricane trends lower as you track farther north and inland.

That said, intense storms are possible virtually anywhere in the United States, and many hurricane preparation tips can be useful for people who might live in locations that are not prone to true hurricanes.

Before the Storm: How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

FEMA provides guidance on how to adequately prepare your home for a hurricane or other severe storm. Here are several procedures and precautions to keep in mind.

1. Properly maintain your yard.

Storm damage is often the result of trees and branches that come down due to strong winds. You can reduce the likelihood of serious damage by identifying in advance the trees and branches that are at risk of falling. Ideally, you should reach out to an arborist or tree removal specialist to take down dead trees and precarious limbs. Experts may recommend removing even healthy trees that are too close to your home.

Heavy rains can also bring down trees by oversaturating the soil and undermining the stability of root systems. A lawncare specialist can determine if regarding your lawn or installing a drainage system is necessary to maintain the integrity of the trees on your property.

FEMA also recommends replacing gravel in driveways, walkways, and garden beds with an alternative material that won’t cause as much damage if strong winds blow it against your home.

2. Secure your outdoor furniture and equipment.

If it isn’t tied down, a strong wind can toss it into your siding or windows. Patio tables, chairs, umbrellas, grills, potted plants, gardening equipment—all of it can be a potential hazard in a serious storm. Secure your outdoor furnishings to the best of your ability. If a hurricane is forecasted, take the time to move unsecured equipment indoors. 

3. Protect your windows and doors.

If you live in an area that is more likely to be hit by a hurricane, consider installing storm shutters. These come in several varieties to suit your budget and aesthetics. Alternatively, keep plenty of plywood on hand to board up your windows in the event of a hurricane.

Don’t neglect glass doors as well. FEMA recommends ensuring that your sliding glass doors are made of tempered glass, and these should also be shuttered or boarded up in a serious storm.

If you have an old or flimsy garage door, consider replacing the door and tracks with equipment that is rated for impacts and strong winds.

4. Floodproof your home.

If you live in a floodplain, some flooding may be unavoidable in the event of a serious storm—particularly if the storm surge is severe. If a storm is forecasted, your municipality will likely take measures to reduce the risk of flood damage to the community. There are some things you can do, however, to mitigate the risk of flooding and water damage in your home.

Seal cracks in your foundation and cover low-lying holes and vents. Regrade your lawn to divert stormwaters away from your home. Install a sump pump in your basement and keep flood barriers, such as sandbags or inflatable walls, on hand.

Don’t neglect to protect yourself financially too. Shop for comprehensive flood insurance if it is not already included in your homeowner’s insurance policy.

When the Skies Clear: What to Do After a Hurricane Passes

When it comes to house recovery, hurricane severity matters. If you have been hit especially hard, make your and your family’s safety an immediate priority. Find a sheltered space and stay away from dangerous and contaminated floodwaters. If possible, keep a go-bag with food, water, blankets, flashlights, and an emergency phone, first aid kit, and portable radio.

When it’s safe to return home, assess the damage to your property. Take plenty of photos and written descriptions of what has been damaged and destroyed. Even if the damage appears minor, reach out to a home inspector to ensure your home is structurally safe. During storm recovery, roofing and siding and other materials need to be assessed for structural integrity.

If you have flood insurance, make a claim with your provider. You can also request disaster or flood assistance from the government. Go to www.FEMA.gov or www.disasterassistance.gov.

Above all, stay safe and remind yourself that you have the strength and resolve to overcome any storm’s destructive power.

For a Little Extra Protection…

Well-maintained homes are better equipped to stand up to the elements. Homeowners can invest in home warranty plans to keep their plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems resilient. Liberty Home Guard also covers home appliances and essential home services.

Use our website for a free quote or call (866)-432-1283.

 

 

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