A hurricane is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Hurricanes are typically between 62 and 2,485 miles in diameter, meaning that they carry a strong capacity for destruction due to the storm covering large areas for extended periods of time as it moves. A tropical depression or storm is turned into a hurricane when the sustained wind speed reaches approximately 75 miles per hour.

In addition to strong winds and rain, hurricanes are capable of generating high waves, damaging storm surge, and tornadoes. Coastal regions are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes compared to inland regions due to the fact that the hurricane derives its energy source from the warm waters of the ocean. However, heavy rains can cause significant flooding inland, while heavy storm surges can produce extensive coastal flooding up to 25 miles from the coastline. Needless to say, it is of the utmost importance that homeowners, especially those in coastal areas, ensure adequate protection for their homes and possessions during the active season.

During hurricane season, agents should inform their clients living in costal or other at-risk areas about protecting themselves should a severe storm put their home, property and family at risk. Taking the proper precautions, collecting emergency supplies and creating a family evacuation plan are just a few ways homeowners can remove a little stress from an inherently stressful situation.

Tips for Protecting your home

To protect homes and vehicles from potential storm damage, homeowners should begin preparing their homes by making sure that their rain gutters and exterior drains are free of debris to avoid potential water backups. Roof sheathing should also be checked to make sure that it could withstand heavy winds. It is important that all exterior furniture or art that could act as a dangerous projectile be removed and put inside or secured with cables or netting to prevent unnecessary damage to your home or possessions.

In the yard, homeowners should be sure that trees and other outdoor landscaping are trimmed so that there are no branches hanging over the home or vehicle that could fall and cause severe damage or even personal injury. Trees or branches that fall can create a great deal of damage to your property, but an inspection by your local arborist can help identify unhealthy tree branches and remove them. Such an inspection must be planned in advance, especially around hurricane season.

Homeowners, in the event of a storm, should close and lock all windows and doors, reinforcing windows with shutters and adding heavy-duty hinges and deadbolts to entry doors. The garage door, in particular needs to be braced, which can be performed by backing the car up against the interior of the garage door as a last resort.

In case of flooding or power loss, homeowners should also install a battery backup system for the sump pump to prevent drain backups and a backup generator can be helpful in the event of extended power loss.

When it comes to valuable items in the home, such as rugs or art, clients should move them away from any windows, and to upper floors of the house, if possible. Prepare copies of important personal and financial documents, and secure these copies in a safe, alternate location to ensure that these documents survive the storm.

If a storm does threaten to hit, clients should keep any important information on hand, as well as emergency contact information, and be sure that they have a full tank of gas in their car should they need to evacuate.

Experts have suggested keeping a “go bag” with a change of clothes, prescription medications, food and water, flashlights, a portable radio and batteries is extremely helpful in the event of an emergency.

Bottom line, your family’s safety should always come first. Once you have formulated a plan, solidify it, and stick to it.

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