First Alert WeatherHurricane Center


Before the Storm: Preparing your home

Home repairs
Posted at 6:16 PM, May 29, 2013
and last updated 2014-05-02 09:33:06-04
  • Making your home storm-ready
  • Keep your trees trimmed, removing all overgrowth and dead branches.
  • Make or buy shutters for all your doors and windows now, not in the days before a hurricane threatens the area.
  • Impact-resistant windows and manufactured shutters are the preferred ways to protect your home.
  • If pre-made shutters are not an option, use plywood that’s at least 3/4 of an inch thick.
  • Using duct or masking tape on windows is NOT effective in preventing glass shattering or interior damage, and may further increase the risk of being injured by flying glass and debris.
  • If you own a concrete block home, install anchoring devices for the roof.
  • Don’t forget about your garage door - this can be the most vulnerable area of your home when a hurricane hits. If possible, work with a professional garage door installer to retrofit your door to meet current hurricane codes. Most home supply stores sell garage door bracing kits.
  • Buy plastic tarps that you can use after the storm if you have roof damage.
  • Stock up on batteries for radios, flashlights and portable lights.
  • Use portable hard drives to back up data on all home and laptop computers.
  • Keep in mind, many stores will sell out of the materials you need to protect your home when the area is under a hurricane watch or warning. Everything you can do before the storm will give you more time to get ready and more peace of mind.


Just before the storm

  • Pick up everything around your home that could become airborne and bring it inside, including all outdoor furniture, potted plants, yard tools, garbage cans, etc.
  • Clear your home’s gutters to handle the heavy rain.
  • Protect your insurance and other important documents in sealable, plastic bags.
  • Cover electronic equipment with large plastic bags.
  • Charge your cell phone batteries.
  • Fill your car's gas tank, and portable gas cans if you own a generator.

Planning to stay at home during the storm

  • Stock up on water, non-perishable food, prescriptions, first aid kit, and cash. Basically anything and everything you’ll need to survive in the days after the storm when electricity will be out and finding supplies will be a challenge.
  • Choose an interior room in your home, without windows, that can serve as your safe room.
  • Have a battery-powered radio or digital television.
  • Have flashlights and other battery-powered lights ready.
  • Make sure the storm has passed completely before you go outside. The “eye” of a hurricane contains a brief period of calmer weather before rain and wind rage again once the eye passes.

The bottom line

  • After the storm can be the most stressful part of a hurricane.
  • Remember that many injuries happen after the storm during the clean up process.
  • Be safe, be patient and help your neighbors.
  • When a hurricane threatens, hope for the best and prepare for the worst!