Hurricane Irma was my first experience with hurricane storms while living in South Tampa, and I was surprised to see that watching the local weather channel over the nationwide weather channel was much less alarming and much more full of practical information. I wanted to share some of the actions I learned to prepare for future storms now.
While there is no way to ‘hurricane proof’ your home, you can make preparations to safeguard it in the future.
- Check windows. If replacing windows is an option, hurricane resistant glass windows are the way to go in coastal Florida. Doing so eases some worry and gets you a homeowner’s insurance discount. If your windows aren’t hurricane resistant, have pre-cut plywood stored in case of emergency weather. Be sure to do this early. There is a rush preceding storms, and our local home improvement stores sold out of plywood and available labor to attach them. Or look into investing in a shutter system or concrete cloth covers for windows.
- Get roof protection. Protect your home and your pocket book by doing a wind mitigation survey for your roof. It’s an insurance rebate that makes sense -- it ensures your roof meets minimum wind safety standards, and if it doesn’t, it can be retrograded with hurricane clips or tie-downs to keep it in place during high wind storms. At the minimum, keep gutters and downspouts clean for water to flow unobstructed.
- Have supplies on hand early. Keep candles, batteries, flashlights, bottled water, and non-perishable food available. Local stores sell out of water, so having some on hand can save you added headache and expense. That battery powered radio may never get much use, but it’s necessary in storms where power is lost.
The most important takeaway -- have a plan. Discuss options and contingencies with your family now so no one feels panicked when the storm approaches. Our neighborhood in Beach Park was under a mandatory evacuation, so having a plan and good friends to stay with outside the evacuation zone made riding out the storm much less chaotic. Stay safe and call us for information on buying or listing with Cowen Property Group.