Preparing your home for a hurricane
Posted July 25, 2015
Updated August 18, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st and lasts through November 30th. The peak of hurricane season occurs between mid-August and late October. If you live in North Carolina, whether near the coast or here in the Triangle, your home is in the path of potentially destructive hurricanes every year. Many native North Carolinians have witnessed firsthand the devastation that these storms can bring, and may not know the process of preparing your home for a hurricane.
New Homes & Ideas interviewed local expert, Kenneth Ellis, owner of A+ Tree and Crane Services, Inc. Ellis has experienced his fair share of storm damage in the nearly 20 years he has been providing tree removal services, tree trimming, tree pruning, stump grinding, hauling, and demolition. As we begin hurricane season, Ellis recommends that homeowners have a professional evaluate their property and advise which trees are unsafe to prepare their yards for potential storms. In the event of a severe storm or hurricane that causes damage to a homeowner’s property, Ellis recommends that homeowners call their insurance company and then call a tree company to schedule an estimate.
Below are helpful tips on how to protect your property from a potential storm and what you should do in the event that your home sustains damage.
BEFORE A HURRICANE
- Cover windows with storm shutters or board up windows with plywood
- Trim trees and shrubs that are close enough to fall on your home
- Be sure gutters, downspouts and drains are not clogged and are attached correctly
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, decor, trash cans, bicycles, etc.
- Anchor storage sheds and other objects that are unsafe to bring inside, like gas grills or propane tanks
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep closed in the event of a power outage
- Turn off propane tank
- Unplug small appliances
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if the location is susceptible to flooding
- Install “check valves” in sewer lines to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home
- Waterproof the basement
- Install sump pumps with battery backup
AFTER A HURRICANE
- Carefully examine the outside of your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering
- If you have sustained damage to your home, have it inspected by a qualified building inspector before entering
- Do not enter your home if you smell gas, or if your home has flood, wind or fire damage
- Once your home is cleared to enter, take pictures of internal and external damage for insurance purposes
- Contact your insurance agent
- Do what you can to prevent further damage (for example, putting a tarp on a damaged roof)
Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flooding, but flood insurance is available for homeowners through the National Flood Insurance Program. You may also be able to purchase insurance for wind. For more information on flood insurance, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.
Anticipating what damage a hurricane may do to your home can be unpredictable, but taking steps to prepare your home beforehand can help to keep damage to a minimum. For more information, visit: www.fema.gov, www.redcross.org, www.ready.gov.