Hurricane Preparation Tips to Stay Safe During Storm Season
No matter how many times we live through it, hurricane season can be a terrifying time for homeowners and communities. Although we have no control over what mother nature throws our way, we can take proactive measures to protect and prepare ourselves as best we can. Here are some tips to prepare for the storms. We’ve included steps you can take before the season comes, in the days and hours leading up to a hurricane’s arrival, during the storm, and in the aftermath.
Remember that CMR is dedicated to keeping our community safe and beautiful. We are always here to help you prepare for storm season and recover from hurricane damage. Give us a call to set up a free roof inspection (855) ROOF-CMR.
10 WAYS TO PREPARE BEFORE STORM SEASON
1. Inspect Your Roof
Before storm season arrives, schedule an expert roof inspection to ensure that your roof is in good condition. It’s best to book your appointment as far in advance as possible in case your roof requires a repair or replacement. If damage is present, it will take some time to get insurance approval and to complete your roofing project. You don’t want to be caught mid-replacement when a storm hits!
Remember that most damage cannot be spotted from the ground. To avoid causing damage to your roof, be sure to call a professional roofing company that understands how to inspect your roof correctly.
2. Check Your Sump Pump
The sump pump in your basement works to prevent flooding. Make sure it’s operating before the storm season arrives and that debris is kept clear from the pump to prevent clogging.
3. Ensure Gutters and Drains are Functioning
Inspect gutters and drains to ensure that they are functioning correctly. If not, contact a professional contractor to repair or replace them. Keep your gutters and drains clear of debris to prevent water from collecting around your home. Clear and healthy gutters can prevent instant flooding to your attic or basement in the case of a severe storm. You should also keep all drains in your house clear to avoid flooding in your basement and crawl space.
4. Repair Cracks in Your Home’s Foundation
Cracks in your home’s foundation are not always apparent, but they can cause significant flooding or plumbing issues. Walk around the perimeter of your home and check for signs of stress in the concrete. Patch any visible blemishes or contact a contractor for a more permanent repair.
5. Add Storm Shutters to Your Windows
Storm shutters provide an additional layer of protection for your home. Although they can be expensive, they are often worth the money when hurricanes strike. If you opt out of storm shutters, stock up on plywood well ahead of the season so you can board your windows before hurricanes make landfall.
Plywood often runs out once hurricane alerts are issued, so stocking up is an excellent way to make sure you’re covered. Ready.gov recommends a ⅝” exterior grade or marine plywood that is cut to fit and ready to install.
6. Order a Manufacturer-Approved Cover for your A/C Unit
You will want to cover your air conditioning unit to protect it from debris and projectiles. However, it’s important to use a manufacturer-approved protective cover to preserve your warranty. A DIY tarp or garbage bag could void your coverage and cause damage by trapping moisture in the unit. Doing this ahead of time will enable you to do the research you need to find the appropriate protection for your air conditioner.
7. Make an Evacuation Plan
Become familiar with your evacuation zone, establish an evacuation route, and identify shelter locations. Discuss and practice your evacuation plan with your family to ensure everyone knows what to do when a hurricane strikes. USAA recommends an evacuation plan that includes more than one escape route to your destination. Be sure to call ahead to shelters to make sure they can take your entire family, including your pets. A critical part of your plan is to let family and friends know where you are heading. You should also ensure that your cars are full of gas and adequately maintained and that you have extra cash on hand.
If you are not in an evacuation zone, make plans to shelter in place safely. Safe shelters for hurricanes include FEMA safe rooms or ICC 500 storm shelters. The next-best option is a small, windowless, interior room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
8. Build an Emergency Kit for Your Family—Including Pets!
You can purchase a premade emergency kit from places like American Red Cross, or you can make your own. Your kit should include all that you will need for three days:
- Water (1 gallon per-person per-day + water for pets)
- Non-perishable food items, necessary medications, important documents and paperwork, a first aid kit, flashlights, a weather radio or regular radio, and batteries for anything that requires them.
- Don’t forget to include water, food, prescriptions, and any other necessary supplies for your pets.
You may also want to create password-protected digital copies of your critical documents as a backup.
9. Sign Up for Alerts
Every resident in hurricane-prone areas should sign up for community warning systems via email and mobile devices. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
10. Prepare for Power Outages with Generators
During hurricanes, power outages are common. Consider purchasing a generator to avoid finding yourself without electricity. Make sure that the generator you are buying is made properly and follow best practices to prevent carbon monoxide issues.
36 HOURS BEFORE THE HURRICANE
1. Turn On Your TV or Radio
When a hurricane heads your way, it’s vital to keep track of the latest weather updates and emergency instructions. Turn on your TV or radio and check your county website for critical information.
2. Restock Your Emergency Preparedness Kit
Just in case someone pulled supplies out of your kit (e.g., when a remote battery died during a critical Netflix session), it’s good practice to re-check your stash to ensure you have the supplies that you need.
3. Set a Communication Plan with Family & Friends
Touch base with family and friends to plan how you’ll communicate if you lose power. Sending text messages is usually more reliable and faster than making phone calls during disasters because phone lines are often overloaded. Also, make sure that you let your family and friends know where you will be sheltering or evacuating to, and learn where they will be as well.
4. Speak with Your Neighbors
In natural disasters, we often come to depend on our neighbors for assistance. Some people may not have family and friends around, especially elderly neighbors, so it’s important to speak with people in your community ahead of time. Discuss how they are preparing, what supplies they need or have, and share your evacuation/sheltering plans before the storm hits. If possible, keep your neighbors updated during the storm and be available in case someone needs help.
5. Review Your Evacuation Zone, Route, and Plan
It’s important to review your plan with your family to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
6. Gas Up the Car
Ensure your car is in good working condition and keep your gas tanks full. Also, stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
18-36 HOURS BEFORE THE HURRICANE
1. Monitor TV, Radio, and City & County Websites for Updates
2. Limit Potential Projectiles
Flying debris becomes a serious threat during a hurricane. Be sure to limit potential damage or severe injury by moving any objects that could become projectiles into your home. Also, anchor any objects that would be unsafe to bring inside.
Trees and loose branches can cause significant damage in a storm. Protect your home and family by trimming or removing trees that are close enough to fall on your home. Properly pruning trees and bushes will also give them the best chance of surviving the storm.
3. Cover All Windows
If you purchased permanent storm shutters, lock them in place before the hurricane arrives. If not, take the plywood that you stored and install it over your windows on the exterior of your home to protect the glass and prevent injuries.
4. Protect Your Air Conditioner
Place the approved protective cover over your air conditioning unit.
6-18 HOURS BEFORE THE HURRICANE
1. Charge Your Phones, Laptops, and Backup Battery Packs
If the power goes out, you want to make sure that any critical battery-dependent devices are fully charged. This is especially important for your phones and laptops that may be your primary source of communication with family, friends, and emergency services.
2. Continue to Monitor TV, Radio, and Websites for Updates
6 HOURS BEFORE THE HURRICANE
1. Take Shelter
If you’re not in an area recommended for evacuation, stay at home or seek shelter with your friends, family, and pets according to your plan. Check in with friends and family to let them know where you are. Remember to take cover in the most interior, windowless room of a sturdy building, on the lowest floor that isn’t prone to flooding.
2. Set Your Refrigerator & Freezer to the Coldest Settings
In preparation for a power outage, you should set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings and open them only when necessary. It is also advisable to keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to check the food temperature when the power is restored to determine if your food is safe to eat.
3. Continue to Monitor TV, Radio, and Web for Updates
DURING THE HURRICANE
1. Follow Official Instructions
- Continue to listen for real-time emergency information and instructions.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Do not drive around barricades — they are there for a reason.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. Just 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water
2. If Trapped, Find the Highest Level with an Exit
If you become trapped in a building due to flooding, move to the highest level of the building. However, do not climb into a closed attic. Make sure that whatever level of the building you are on has an exit through a door or window.
3. Do Not Use Generators Indoors
A generator or other gasoline-powered machinery should only be used outdoors and away from windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
AFTER THE HURRICANE
1. Listen to Authorities
Continue to monitor radio, TV, and websites for information and special instructions.
2. Be Careful During Cleanup
The aftermath of a hurricane is highly unpredictable. Follow these tips to avoid injury or worse.
- Be careful during cleanup and wear protective clothing.
- Work in pairs or with a group in case you run into a situation where you or someone else needs help.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water.
- If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Floodwater can contain dangerous debris and underground or down power lines that can electrically charge the water. Avoid wading in water for your safety.
3. Save Phone Calls for Emergencies
Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends. Phone systems are often down or busy following a disaster and should be reserved for emergency purposes.
4. Document Property Damage
Photograph or take a video of any property damage for insurance purposes.
We hope that these tips will help you get through the storm season safely and without any significant issues. However, if you do experience any problems with your roof, contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free roof inspection.
Is it Time to Prepare Your Roof for the Fall? Call CMR Construction & Roofing Today.
Do you need a roof inspection, roof repair, or maintenance service? Then call the experts at CMR Construction & Roofing. Our experienced roofing specialists are proud to offer quality services for clients in Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Ft. Lauderdale, Bonita Springs, Naples, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Estero, Florida and other surrounding communities.