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Tighten up your storm tool belt

Tighten up your storm tool belt

When the skies are clear and the sun is shining, a hurricane seems a thousand miles away. We know it’s no fun to think about the worst case scenario, but with a little forethought and a touch of elbow grease, you can prepare yourself for whatever comes over the horizon.

Make a Plan

  • Double-check that your homeowners, windstorm and flood insurance policies are effective.
  • Coordinate preparation plans in the event of a storm with your neighbors.
  • Take ''before'' pictures of your home and store them in a secure place where you can access them after the storm.
  • Develop an evacuation plan so that everyone in your family knows where to go if they are forced to leave.

Prepare your home

  • Safeguard your windows and doors, i.e. if you don’t have wind-resistant windows, consider buying shutters or, as a last-resort, pre-fitted plywood panels.
  • If you buy shutters, check to make sure they meet Miami-Dade County wind-resistance standards.
  • Standards to look for include SSTD 12-97 or ASTM E 1996-00
  • Also, ask about the weight gauge or thickness (the greater the thickness—for aluminum—the stronger the shutter)
  • Install shutters over large attic wall vents or skylights.
  • Consider buying shutters for your doors, especially any door containing a substantial amount of glass.
  • Reinforce your garage door and tracks with center supports.
  • Wedge sliding glass doors and windows.
  • Choose one door, such as a side door to the garage, as an entry and exit point.

Weathering the Storm

  • Bring objects that can blow away easily inside, e.g. your mailbox, garbage cans and lawn furniture.
  • Anchor down or secure objects that you cannot move, e.g. window air conditioner units.
  • Cover valuable indoor furniture with plastic.
  • Choose a safe room, preferably an interior hallway or bedroom with no windows, to ride out the storm.
  • Keep a mattress and a functional fire extinguisher nearby.