Cyclones cause millions of dollars in damages. Hurricanes are rated from 1 to 5 based on their intensity or wind speeds and indicated time, A category 1 hurricane will have winds of 75 miles per hour. A category 5 hurricane could have winds as high as 190 miles per hour. The faster the wind speed the more damage the hurricane will bring. Listen to your local news and radio station for storm updates. Be prepared to evacuate if the order is given.
The house below was built to withstand a category 5 hurricane. It was completely destroyed by Hurricane Rita in 2005. After it was rebuilt it was the lone survivor of Hurricane Ike in 2008. Do what you can to reinforce your home's structure and take these safety steps to protect your home and family.
Safety Steps to Take
- Have multiple copies of all important documents (birth certificates, bank account information, insurance policies, inventory of household goods, etc.) Keep them in different locations out of the path of a potential storm.
- Some things can't be replaced such as family photos. Have several rubber bins to put items in if you need to evacuate.
- Be sure to back up your computer to a secure place out of the path of the storm.
- Flooding doesn't typically affect the attic. Store items in plastic bins to help protect them from water damage. Hang pictures a bit higher on the wall in case of a flood.
- Shut off your electricity right away if water enters your home. This will prevent short-circuiting.
- Find a water-proof safe, a water resident safe won't prevent water damage if fully submerged.
- Prevent wind from entering your home by strengthening windows and doors.
- Get flood insurance. It will cost you a lot less than taking out a loan to fix the damage later.
- Monitor the National Hurricane Center for storm updates.
- Make a disaster supply kit with a waterproof flashlight and extra batteries.
- Have emergency food supplies, stores will quickly run out.
- Pets are often not allowed at emergency shelters. Make a plan for them as well. Find a kennel or a friend out of harm's way to watch the fur family until the danger has passed.
- Keep trees trims to prevent them falling or damaging the house during a storm.
- Create a communication plan and have a meeting place in case family members get separated in the chaos.
- Elevate furniture to prevent water damage. Move everything to the upper floors if possible.
- Turn off the water and gas to the house.
- Have plywood ready to board up windows and doors. Supplies will be limited during a storm.
- Bring outdoor furniture and items inside so they won't be blown away by high winds.
- Be prepared to evacuate quickly and calmly if the order is given.
Photo Credit: http://www.weather.gov/jetstream/tc_potential