Hurricane ins

Hurricanes are like no other storms on earth, they are intense and just downright scary.  From Florida to Texas to Hawaii, these ferocious weather systems bring torrential rain, flooding, storm surges and devastating winds that damage homes, destroy treasured keepsakes and disrupt family life. You don't have to be blown away when a hurricane hits. It is never too early to prepare and you can take several basic steps right now to protect your family and your home from disaster.

First Things You should do First

Find out if your home meets current building code requirements for high-wind regions (for example, the Standard Building Code, which is promulgated by the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc.). Experts agree that structures built to meet or exceed current model building codes high-wind provisions have a much better chance of surviving violent windstorms. Get hurricane ins.

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If you're handy with a hammer and saw, you can do much of the work yourself. Work involving your home's structure may require a building contractor, however, or even a registered design professional such as an architect or engineer.

When Working Outside

Replace gravel/rock landscaping material with shredded bark. Get hurricane ins.

Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Cut weak branches and trees that could fall on your house.

Windows: If you are replacing your existing windows, install impact-resistant window systems, which have a much better chance of surviving a major windstorm. As an alternative to new window systems, install impact-resistant shutters that close over window openings to prevent flying debris from breaking windowpanes.

Entry Doors: Make certain your doors have at least three hinges and a dead bolt security lock with a bolt at least one inch long. Anchor door frames securely to wall framing.

Patio Doors: Sliding glass doors are more vulnerable to wind damage than most other doors. If you are replacing your patio doors or building a new home, consider installing impact-resistant door systems made of laminated glass, plastic glazing or a combination of plastic and glass. When a hurricane threatens, an easy, temporary and effective step is to cover the entire patio door with shutters made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Get hurricane ins.

Garage Doors: Because of their size, garage doors are highly susceptible to wind damage. A qualified inspector can determine if both the door and the track system can resist high winds and, if necessary, help replace them with a stronger system. Garage doors more than eight feet wide are most vulnerable. Install permanent wood or metal stiffeners. Or contact the door manufacturer's technical staff for recommendations about temporary center supports you can attach and remove easily when severe weather threatens.

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