With the 2017 hurricane season finally here (Official Hurricane season occurs annually place between June 1 – November 30), now is the time for South Florida homeowners to prepare their homes for what experts are predicting will be the most active season since 2012. For us locals who have lived in South Florida through the devastating natural disasters Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Wilma, we know it’s only a matter of time before another Hurricane comes crashing in unexpectedly.
Hurricane Prep is the key to withstanding a hurricane safely and comfortably. This guide offers valuable information to help you plan over the next 7 days to protect your family and property before, during and after the storm.
Day 1 During Hurricane Season:
Request a Roof Maintenance Check
Your roof takes the brunt of a hurricane, which can pack winds in excess of 155 mph. These winds exert an uplift effect that can pull off roof shingles, tiles, or even the underlying roof deck. A well-maintained roof is better able to resist high winds.
Begin by checking the surface of your roof, either on the roof itself or from the ground with binoculars. If heights aren’t your thing, you can hire a professional roof inspector to do this for you.
Look for curled, loose, or missing shingles or roof tiles. Pay particular attention to the edges of the roof. Also check the spacing of the nails that hold the shingles and underlying roof deck onto your houses. Nails should be approximately four inches apart along edges. Nails, not staples, should be used to secure the roof deck to the rafters.
If you have access to your attic, inspect the roof from the inside as well. Look for points of light coming through the roof. This can reveal gaps that can let in wind and water. Examine the rafters or trusses for protruding nail tips, which indicate that the plywood roof deck might not be properly secured.
Remember, it’s always better to KNOW that your roof is working right rather than hoping it will when the storm comes to test it. At T&S Roofing Systems, we are available 24/7 and provide annual preventative maintenance programs, repairs, and roof replacement services.
Day 2 During Hurricane Season:
Before the Storm
Trim your Trees
Properly pruning trees and shrubs before a hurricane approaches can reduce debris generated during a storm. Trees that hang over your roof and near your home can be dangerous in a hurricane. When winds pick up, tree limbs can too. Trees are susceptible to disease and it doesn’t take a lot for a diseased limb to snap. If a tree limb falls on your roof it can cause severe damage to your roof and allow water to intrude your home, cause electrical issues, or even hurt someone inside the home where the limb hits. Trees can also cause debris to build up on the roof, especially in the valleys. This can cause the shingles underneath to deteriorate, and worse, the roofing structure to rot. Trimming back your trees on your South Florida roof will ensure that throughout the year you will keep your roof clean and also help your prepare for the 2017 hurricane season.
Clean your gutters and drainage systems
It’s easy to neglect your gutters and drainage systems throughout the year. In the event of a hurricane or major storm, it’s imperative that you take the time to clean them out prior to a storm. Clear all leaves and debris from gutters and drainage systems. Make sure all down spouts and gutters are clear of debris so that rain water can flow through them. If there is a storm and a build up of debris in your gutter, water not flowing freely can back up and intrude your home. Clean out the eaves of your roof of any debris as well to prevent build up.
Day 3 During Hurricane Season:
Make a Plan
Whether your plan is to evacuate or ride out the storm, make sure that you get together with any family members to discuss your plan of action. Make certain that everyone knows how to get into contact with a designated point-person to let them know about their status. Everyone should know in advance what the evacuation routes are and the location of local shelters. Practicing evacuation plans can help minimize the occurrence of errors and confusion for family members and employees.
Day 4 During Hurricane Season:
Identify Your Home Vulnerable Points
With the high wind speeds caused by hurricanes, it is important for you to take the time to check the surroundings of your South Florida home for any signs of vulnerability. Protect areas where wind can enter such as windows and doors, with county approved storm shutters. One option is to board up windows with ⅝” plywood. Note that tape does not prevent windows from breaking!
- Bring in lawn furniture of other outdoor items not tied down that could become airborne.
- Withdraw cash from the bank, and get fuel for your car, generator and other gas-powered tools.
- Protect electronics with surge protectors and waterproof coverings
Day 5 During Hurricane Season:
Make a Plan for Vehicle(s) and Boat(s)
Taking a picture or video of your vehicle/boat’s condition prior to the occurrence of a hurricane is always a good idea in the event that your property is damaged and you need to file a claim with your insurance agent.
Cars should typically be kept inside of an enclosed garage during a storm, while boats should be removed from the water and weighed down to prevent them from being picked up by the wind.
If you own a boat, remember to secure it. Use double lines at a marina or consider dry-dock storage. Never try and ride out a hurricane in your boat! Know where you plan on storing these items so that in the event of a hurricane, you can use your limited time to carry out your plans rather than make them.
Day 6 During Hurricane Season:
During a Storm
Monitor the radio and television for weather updates and instructions from public safety officials.
It is advised to stay indoors, preferably in a room with no windows.
Take your emergency kit and disaster supplies with you if you move from room to room, or if your evacuate to a shelter.
If flooding threatens your South Florida home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
Avoid using the phone and do not bathe or shower during the storm.
Keep children informed about what’s happening and watch for signs of stress.
Get in the tub or under your mattress if your home begins to come apart.
Day 6 During Hurricane Season:
Plan for Pets
Just as with children, put together a list of pet supplies that you will need to bring with you: pet food, leash, carrier, etc. Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers are available for residents living in evacuation areas, unsafe structures or mobile homes. There is a limit of four pets per household.
General Pet Safety Tips
- Place ID tags on appropriate collars and ensure your pets are micro-chipped.
- Its best to account for 1 ½ gallons of water, as well as sufficient food and medicine for each animal for at least 3 days. Don’t forget serving bowls.
- Prepare to care and maintain control over your pets at all times.
- Whenever possible, ask a friend or relative if you can leave your pet with them if a hurricane forces you to evacuate your home. Never plan on leaving your pet alone.
Day 7 During Hurricane Season:
After a Storm
Many disaster-related injuries occur in the aftermath of a hurricane. Here are some ways to stay safe.
- Remain inside until local authorities give the green light to go outdoors.
- If you must go outdoors, watch for fallen objects and downed electrical wires report downed power lines to Florida Power & Light.
- Inspect your home for damage, assuring that its safe to stay there. Check for gas leaks, if applicable.
- Contact your insurance agent. Take pictures of damage. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.
- Stay out of areas with extensive storm damage.
- Obey all curfew and emergency orders.
- Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.
Disaster Kit Checklist
Whether you plan on evacuating to a safer area or remaining at home, there’s an emergency kit for that! For those who plan on evacuating to a designated shelter or alternate residence, packing enough supplies to ensure the comfort of your family is essential. Remember that shelters only have the basic necessities, and that those resources will be limited. For those who plan on remaining at home, you’ll need to be able to make due until streets and businesses open back up.
Some of the basics that you’ll want to include in your emergency kit, no matter where you ride out the storm, include:
- Extra cash
- Cell phone and USB charger
- 7-day supply of food and water for each person
- Manual can opener
- Utility lighter
- Flashlight and batteries
- Change of clothing for each person
- Basic first aid kit
FREE E-Book – Homeowners Hurricane Prep Guide
For more in-depth information about how you can prepare your South Florida home for a hurricane, head over to our Homeowners Hurricane Prep Guide.
At T&S Roofing Systems, we want our customers to be prepared no matter what. Call us today at (305) 639-7663 to learn more about our residential roofing services.