Tips for securing your home before Irene strikes
Special Report: Tips for securing your home before Irene strikes
Follow our tips and make sure every opening of your house -- from windows to doors to garages -- is fully protected:
- Cover openings including: glass, panels, shutters, garage doors and vents
- Trim shrubs and trees and pick-up any loose items outside
- Secure appliances: Turn your refrigerator down, turn off the AC and unplug everything else
- Freeze some water bottles
- Designate a "safe room" to ride out the storm and keep your hurricane kit
"Openings in your homes should be protected, whether that's impact glass, panels, or like we have here accordion shutters," said Raymond Hoecherl of Broward Fire and Rescue.
"If you have panels, make sure you have all the hardware to secure them prior to storm," Hoecherl added. "Make sure they are numbered or there is some type of diagram to what panel goes on what window."
Disaster expert Jim Mathie said a garage door is your biggest opening for letting in wind.
"You want to have the thickest plywood you can," Mathie said. "And you want to have anchors at least every 12 inches, so it's secured to the wall."
Look around for other outdoor openings where water or wind could enter your house.
"Most homes will have a soffit area and a vent that allows the attic to breathe," Mathie said. "Let's cover them so that wind and rain and water won't come in your home."
To keep things from flying into your house or someone else's, keep trees and shrubs around your home trimmed and pick up any loose items.
"You're going to want to take them inside and secure them," Hoecherl said. "They can be dangerous flying projectiles. Also check next door at your neighbors, and make sure they have also secured their items, because they may end up in your yard, and your stuff in their yard -- causing further damage."
For homes that have pools:
"You want to remember to add some extra chlorine, to protect it," Hoecherl said. "If you would like, you can lower the water a foot or so -- no more than that. Also remember to turn off your pump. Protect it with plastic to keep it dry."
There's a good chance you could lose power during a storm -- be sure to secure all your appliances.
"It may be a good idea to turn off your air conditioner," he said. "Go around your house unplug all your electrical appliances. If there is a power surge, this may protect them from getting damaged."
Turn your refrigerator down to its coldest setting. If you lose power, the items will stay cooler longer.
"Another thing you can do is freeze some water bottles," he added. "That way if you do lose power, you will have cold water to drink and you can also use it to ice down things that are in the fridge to keep them colder longer."
Every family should designate a "safe room" to ride out the storm and keep your hurricane kit with extra food supplies and important documents.
"If everything falls around you, you know this is where you're going to be," Hoecherl said. "It's an interior room, number one -- no windows."
When it comes to your car, the safest place to park is in your garage. If you live in a flood zone, make a plan before to take your car inland or to higher ground.
"Really one of the better places are parking garages," Mathie said. "You can park in the garage and get some height off the ground, and maybe protected from the wind and debris."
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