Hurricane Preparedness for Homeowners in Preparation of Tropical Storm Erika Making Landfall in Florida
As Tropical Storm Erika heads towards the Caribbean homeowners in Florida and other affected areas should ensure they are protected from the worst possible scenario. The hurricane preparedness experts at GCI Consultants, LLC (GCI) have put together a few tips to ensure your home is properly prepared for a severe hurricane.
Understand Potential Threats
When dealing with a hurricane the three most common threats to property as well as people are wind, wind-borne debris and storm surge. Homes that were not designed to withstand hurricane effects are the most likely structures to be damaged in a severe storm.
Wind pressure is an extremely powerful force of nature. Wind alone can cause the failure of windows, doors and glass as well as the loss of roof coverings. Windows and doors should all be locked and secured prior to a storm, preferably with storm shutters, if available. Window film or tape can also be used to reduce the amount of flying glass in the event of failure, but these materials do not add any additional strength to glass.
Do not attempt to open a door or window during the peak of a severe storm. If you are worried that a door or window may be vulnerable to blowing out it’s best to go somewhere in your home that does not have any windows with the doors closed.
Dangers of Wind-Borne Debris
If Tropical Storm Erika is upgraded to a hurricane and heads towards Florida, wind-borne debris could be a problem. Wind-borne debris consists of any items blowing around during a severe storm. These items could be roof coverings, garbage cans, pieces blown off of buildings, outdoor furniture and plants or vegetation.
Diminishing wind-borne debris is most often done through proper housekeeping prior to the storm. Make sure to bring in any loose objects from outside prior to a storm. It’s also smart to check your neighbors’ homes to ensure that they do not have any objects outdoors that could potentially cause damage if they became airborne during a storm.
The best protection from wind-borne debris is either properly designed and installed hurricane impact windows with laminated glass or storm shutters. If you don’t have storm shutters you can attempt to board up your windows, but it’s important that the boards are well secured or they can come off and become windborne debris themselves. Organizations such as FEMA and the American Plywood Association provide information online about how to properly protect glass windows and doors.
Storm Surges Are Extremely Powerful
If you live in a flood prone evacuation zone and are in the path of a severe storm you should evacuate immediately. Storm surge is extremely powerful and can wash homes or buildings completely off of their foundations during a violent storm.
GCI is a consulting firm that specializes in the exterior building envelope including windows, doors, glass, exterior wall systems and roofs. See www.gciconsultants.com for more information about GCI.