There are some specific actions you should take to make your home safer. To
make some of these improvements, you will have to get up in the attic
or crawl space with a flashlight. You may feel more comfortable with an experienced and
licensed inspector, architect, engineer or contractor inspecting your
home. Whatever choice you make, take time to do this well before the storm.
If your roof was built
before 1994 and is gabled, brace all gable end framing with horizontal
and vertical beams. Also, make sure that there is wood sheathing (planks
or plywood) behind the stucco of the triangular gable end walls.
Using a caulking gun, apply
a 1/4 inch bead of APA AFG-01 certified wood adhesive along an intersection
of the roof deck and roof support element (rafter or truss chord) on
both sides of the beam. This technique can increase the wind uplift
resistance by up to three times, but should not be used if you are going
to re-roof in the near future.
Entry and Garage Doors:
Entry doors are easily
damaged by high winds. Bolt all doors with foot and head bolts with
a minimum 1-inch bolt throw length.
Garage doors should be
able to withstand hurricane wind loads and the impacts of flying debris.
If yours does not, replace with a hurricane resistant one that meets
the Citrus County building code. Approximately 80 percent of residential
hurricane wind damage starts with wind entry through garage doors.
Protecting your windows
is perhaps one of the most important factors in securing your home or
office from total destruction in a hurricane or severe storm.
Make sure all doors and
windows are properly caulked and/or weather stripped. Replace gravel/rock
landscaping material with fire-treated, shredded bark to reduce damage.
Cover all large windows and glass doors with securely fastened, impact-resistant
shutters with proper mounting fixtures or replace them with impact-resistant
laminated window and door systems, if feasible.
Methods of Window Protection:
- Plywood sheets (at least
3/4 inch) are inexpensive but difficult to handle and install. They
should be pre-measured, pre-drilled, labeled and stored where they can
be installed quickly.
- Window security film is
becoming a popular method due to its "passive" protection.
Once installed, it provides 24 hour protection from violent weather
or possible criminal invasion.
- Shutters offer good window
protection but make sure they are strong enough to withstand airborne
debris. Steel panels are cost effective and tend to be easier to handle
and store than plywood. Colonial and Bahama style shutters offer convenience
of minor preparation and no storage. Roll down shutter systems offer
protection with little maintenance; however, a motorized system is more
expensive than the alternatives. Choose shutters that pass both the
small and large missile impact tests, especially on the first and second
Mobile Home Residents:
- Anchor mobile homes with
tie-downs. Inspect tie-downs annually.
- NEVER stay inside mobile
homes to ride out the storm. Always EVACUATE to a friend or relative's
home, hotel or motel, or nearby designated storm shelter.
Fueled by gas, generators
can run appliances and fans. Sizes range from 750 watts, which will
run a fan and a light up to 8,000 watts, which will practically run
a house (except for the air condition). Refrigerators require 400-1,000
If you have lost power:
- don't connect a portable
generator to building wiring. This could injure or kill neighbors
or electrical crews.
- Plug appliances, etc.,
directly into the generator.
- Place generator outdoors
or in a well-ventilated area.
- Don't forget to check
the oil every time you add gas.
Conserve fuel by alternating
appliances. For example, refrigerators can be kept cool by supplying
power eight hours a day.
Building or Remodeling:
- When replacing soffits,
check for hurricane clips, install connections between roof truss and
- When repairing your roof,
check the decking. Make sure it is secure and nailed properly.
- Install roof covering
that is rated for hurricane force winds and (Class 5) fire resistance.
- When replacing windows
or doors, consider impact-resistant glass or some type of shutter/wind
- Replace your old garage
door with a hurricane-resistant one.
- For tips, go online to
www.flash.org (Federal Alliance
for Safe Homes).
- Building a new home? Be
safe and smart. Ask for a hurricane-resistant fortified home. For information
go online to www.ibhs.org (Institute for Business and Home Safety) or
Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers flood insurance to residents
in communities like ours, which adopt appropriate standards and land-use
The NFIP requires new construction
and reconstruction in flood-prone areas to elevate at or above the Base
Flood Elevation to reduce the risk of flooding in the building itself.
The NFIP also requires structures damaged more than 50 percent of the
value to be rebuilt to current standards, including elevating the structure.
Make sure your insurance
policy will cover the replacement costs of your home and belongings
and any additional costs to rebuild.