Securing Your Home

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Securing Your Home

As the Hurricane Season Begins

  • Keep a supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  • Create a home inventory with pictures or video.
  • Install hurricane shutters or prepare 1/2" outdoor plywood covers for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and predrill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically remove branches so that wind can blow through.
  • Check fire extinguishers to make sure they are fully charged.
  • Keep a supply of nails, hammers, wire, rope, pliers and other tools handy.
  • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
  • Make written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)
  • When a Hurricane Watch is Issued

  • Double check the supplies in your disaster survival kit.
  • Check supplies of special medicine and first aid equipment
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food.
  • Board up windows, French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights if you don’t have safety glass.
  • Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent them from being lifted from their tracks.
  • Remove window screens before the storm so they don’t blow off. (Imagine having no screens and no air conditioning, but lots of mosquitoes.)
  • Lower or secure TV and radio antennas. If you plan to remove your outdoor TV antenna, first unplug the TV set.
  • Bring inside toys, gardening equipment, lawn furniture. Turn over and tie down picnic tables, benches and anything else too large to move.
  • Keep your car's gas tank full.
  • Get supply of cash from local bank or ATM (which will not work without electricity).
  • Wash a load of clothes, since it may be some time before you can use the washing machine.
  • Turn refrigerator/freezer to the coldest setting to preserve food as long as possible in case of a power failure.
  • Make arrangements for animals (most shelters do not allow pets).
  • Move your important business documents to a safe deposit box, or other safe location out of the path of the storm.
  • Make a backup of your important computer files.
  • When a Hurricane Warning is Issued

  • Place the items you will need if you have to evacuate in your car.
  • Unplug appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer.
  • It’s not always necessary to turn off electricity, but it is advised if your house is in a flood-prone area; if natural gas lines enter the house; or if there is structural damage exposing electrical lines.
  • Put a cotton ball soaked in vanilla in your refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors in case the electricity goes out.
  • Place valuables up high if flooding is possible.
  • Remove pictures from walls, and move furniture away from doors and windows.
  • Draw drapes across windows and lock all windows and doors.
  • Brace garage doors and any un-reinforced masonry.
  • Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
  • Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Pool Preparation

    Backyard pools are a source of relaxation, but they also need attention before and after a storm. Some suggested steps from the Associated Swimming Pool Industries:
  • Turn off all electrical power to the swimming pool (pump, motor, lighting, chlorinators, etc.).
  • Do not drain the pool. If you do lower the water level, be sure to close your skimmer valve to prevent damage to the pump when the power is restored.
  • Wrap the pump motor with a waterproof membrane or plastic bag, and tie it securely in place to prevent sand and driving water from entering the motor. Tie down the pump box lid, if present.
  • Remove all loose items from the pool area. Don’t sink patio furniture or accessories in the pool. Heavy furniture may chip and damage the pool finish, and the chemicals in the water will have an adverse effect on the furniture.
  • Add extra chlorine to prevent contamination.
  • If your pool is screened, remove one or two panels of screen above the chair on each side to allow wind to blow through and prevent costly damage. Do not remove lower or overhead panels. Slip the pins out of the door hinges and place the doors in a protected area.
  • When the Storm is Over

  • Super-chlorinate the pool. When the chlorine level returns to normal, test the water for proper balance.
  • Remove any wrapping around the pump motor. If the motor has been submerged, it should be removed for professional cleaning and be dried out. If the pump has remained dry, turn on the electricity.
  • Run the filter until water is crystal-clear and resume normal pool operation.

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