What can I do to prepare my home?

If your house is in danger of being hit by a hurricane, protecting windows and sliding glass doors is almost always the number one thing you can do to ensure you'll have a livable house if the worst happens. Why is protecting windows so important? Once a window is broken, the wind blows inside to not only wreck the interior, but also to apply upward pressure on the roof, which might be enough to sent if flying. If this happens, the walls collapse and your house is done for.

But, if you wait until a hurricane watch is posted, you are almost surely too late.

Taping up windows is a waste of time because tape isn't going to keep your neighbor's garbage can - which he should have stashed in a place where the wind can't grab it - from breaking your window when a 100 mph wind flings it at your house.

True, the tape just might keep the glass from flying around the room when the garbage can hits it. But an important rule for any wind storm is to not be in a room with windows that can be broken. If your house doesn't have a windowless room, you should at least do something like cowering behind an overturned table or a heavy sofa in case glass starts flying.

While tape doesn't do much, heavy plywood or metal shutters are vital. But you can't wait until a storm is bearing down to go buy the plywood because by then it's almost surely too late. This is because the plywood has to fit the windows and it has to be firmly attached to them. Experts recommend using 3/4 inch plywood and drilling screw holes 18 inches apart all around it. Are you going to have time to do this after a watch is posted?  This is the kind of thing that should be done well ahead of time so the window covers will be stored with the screws started, and everything you'll need to install them, such as a ladder and the correct size screwdriver handy.

Make sure to remove and secure all items outside the home.  They can become dangerous projectiles during high winds.

Of course, if you are living in a mobile home, or a house that isn't sturdy enough to stand up to the wind, you should evacuate early and avoid the rush.


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