Here’s your easiest Florida quiz ever: Why is hurricane preparedness important? Anyone who has lived in west central Florida for more than a few hurricane seasons knows the answer. When your family is attuned to safety, when your home is braced for the worst winds and heaviest rains, then the stress of a hurricane melts away.
No, Really, Why?
If reducing stress is not enough to motivate you into tackling hurricane preparedness, consider these three reasons:
- Save money
- Minimize damage
- Restore your normal life fast
Hurricane preparedness saves you money because you will have fewer repairs, shorter stays out of your home, and fewer items to replace. You minimize damage by having your house in its best shape. You get back to normal, home-centered life faster than if your home suffers extensive hurricane damage.
A quick tour around your home will help you focus on small steps you can do. One thing never to do: climb onto your roof. Roofs are treacherous, slippery even in dry weather, and are often unexpectedly steep. Leave all roof work to trained, properly equipped professionals. Even from a one-story roof, a fall can put you in the hospital.
Try this 10-point checklist to get started:
- One Place — keep all your important documents in one safe place so they cannot be destroyed by fire, flood, or high winds (and no, Dillard’s coupons are not important documents).
- Hurricane Insurance — Make sure your homeowners’ insurance is current and provides ample hurricane coverage; having your roof up to current hurricane codes and in good repair may even shave your premiums.
- Flood insurance — Flood insurance is rarely included in a homeowners insurance policy; you have to get that separately, and an excellent place to start is with Hillsborough County’s Flood Zone Lookup.
- Windows — Inspect your home’s windows inside and outside for evidence of cracks, gaps, and leaks; get windows repaired quickly before they become weak spots in your home’s defenses.
- Generator — You will never find a generator for sale in the days before a predicted hurricane; buy it now, whether it is on sale or not, and do not forget a few regulation gasoline cans that you fill only when needed!
- Propane is the only hydrocarbon fuel you can store at home with relative safety (outside, away from your home, in an approved, fireproof cabinet); gasoline, kerosene (#1 diesel), and #2 diesel degrade over time, so do not “stock up” on them.
- Pantry — Stock up on frozen foods and vacuum-sealed bags for your freezer; buy and rotate shelf-stable foods and canned goods well ahead of Florida’s rainy season (rotating older items into your menus first).
- Freeze — Partially fill and fully freeze water containers since a well-stocked freezer can keep foods frozen longer in a power outage than a sparsely filled freezer; you can use the thawed containers as drinking water if municipal supplies stop.
- Roof inspections — Get your roof inspections for your west central Florida home performed well ahead of hurricane season. Make sure flashings, drip edges, ridge vents, and any rooftop add-ons are in excellent shape. Talk to your roofer about retrofitting your roof with hurricane clips and straps, which may be required by local municipal building codes.
- Save money — Do not leave needed roof repairs until the hurricanes are headed our way. The faster you address roof repairs, the more money you save, since no roof repairs itself, and damage spreads as roofing components weaken.
And Another Thing
If you are feeling ambitious, nervous, or cautious, you can also add a few to-do items to your weekend chores around your home. Again, stay off your roof and avoid ladders, relying on contractor services for some of this work:
- Trim back trees — Overhanging branches and leaning trees are blunt objects waiting for hurricane winds to drop them onto your roof; you may need a tree service.
- Gutters and drains — Keep your home’s gutters, downspouts, downspout extensions, and French drains clear and secure so they can handle the volumes of water a hurricane brings; you may need a gutter service for this.
- Yard — Keep your yard tidy, with items put away in proper storage so they cannot become windborne missiles; fold and store patio umbrellas ahead of impending storms.
The Most Important Thing
The most important thing you can do ahead of the hurricanes is to have an ongoing, good relationship with your local residential roofer. Annual inspections and regular maintenance can put you on the short-list for emergency roof repair. At Westfall Roofing, we care not only about your home’s roof but your family’s safety, too. We provide a full range of exterior services, including storm damage repair. Contact us today to learn all we can offer to help your west central Florida home survive Mother Nature’s worst.