by Mark Etinger
Hurricanes are deadly acts of nature that can cause enormous damage to property and immense loss of life. Hurricanes, which occur in the warmer months from June to November, are severe tropical storms with winds of more than 100 miles an hour and water surges of over 20 feet. When it comes to hurricanes, preparedness is the key, and households should make every effort to protect themselves and their property with hurricane windows and disaster evacuation plans. The rule of thumb is to be prepared for the worst and be ready to evacuate quickly. Here are some tips for preparing for hurricane season.
1. Install hurricane windows – Even minor storms can easily shatter regular glass windows, even when they’re taped up. And of course, once your building’s windows are shattered, the contents of your home are at risk of being damaged. Impact windows can withstand debris and high winds, and also offer UV and sound protection. Hurricane windows look just like regular windows, and are designed according to strict standards; as a minimum, hurricane windows are guaranteed not to shatter when hit with a 9-pound wooden stud traveling at 35 miles an hour. Shutters can also be installed to protect the outside of the hurricane windows.
2. Clean up your back yard – Before the hurricane season starts, clean up your back yard to reduce the amount of dangerous debris that could fly into your hurricane windows in a severe storm. Keep your trees and shrubbery well trimmed to reduce the changes of branches breaking off and causing injury or damage to your rooftop, and clean out your gutters and drains to prevent them from overflowing when heavy rains hit. Make a list of all those outdoor items that you need to bring in during a hurricane watch, such as lawn furniture, tables and chairs, household equipment, umbrellas, and pot plants.
3. Develop an evacuation plan – Make sure your household has a plan about where to go if an evacuation is required. For help establishing your evacuation destination and route, contact your local emergency management service or the American Red Cross. If you’re headed to a hotel or motel, try to make reservations before you leave, because reservations will fill quickly in an evacuation situation. If you can’t stay in a hotel with impact resistant windows or with family and friends, head to a shelter.
4. Prepare a disaster supply kit – It’s essential to prepare a disaster supply kit that you can pick up and take with you if an evacuation from your home with hurricane windows is required. The National Hurricane Center recommends that any kit should be equipped with 1 gallon of water per person per day and non-perishable packaged or canned food for 3 to 7 days, plastic eating utensils, cooking tools, blankets, pillows, first aid kit, toiletries, flash light, cash, toys, books and games, insurance documents in a watertight bag, and spare clothing.