When I worked at the National Hurricane Center, I was often asked if such and such a community was ready for a hurricane. I would usually turn the question around and ask the person posing the question if they had a hurricane plan and if they had made preparations. Amazingly, many people responded that they had done nothing to get ready. Recently, someone asked me what preparations I had made for this hurricane season. I thought it might be worth sharing a few of the things that I have done or am in the process of doing.
One of the most important things that can be done to protect your house is to make every effort to keep the wind out. Many people who have lost their roofs in hurricanes say that the first thing to go was a garage door, a window, or an entry door. Once the wind gets inside a home through one of these openings, bad things can happen including losing your roof.
Today, after living in South Florida for 36 years, I am finally getting accordion shutters on the windows of my home. I previously had a variety of metal shutters. Some of these old shutters met the current building code, but some did not. In fact, some of them were from the pre-Andrew era. Given that I am usually not around during a hurricane threat, that means that my wife gets stuck putting up our heavy storm panels. It was time to upgrade to accordions.
I did my homework on getting a good company to do the installation and the work started today. I also applied to the My Safe Florida Home program (see http://www.mysafefloridahome.com/). This is a terrific program whose mission is to help Floridians learn how to harden their homes to better protect themselves and their families from windstorm damage. And the state will match up to $5000 spent on mitigation efforts if you qualify.
I’ll let you know how the accordion shutter project goes.