If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you might assume that your home is fairly storm-proof. And you might be right -- but you don't want to find out the hard way that you're wrong. You should never make any assumptions about your home's safety: It's your job to personally make sure that everything's secure. And the time to do that is definitely not when a hurricane is rumbling your way in late August. Take some time in the off-season to ask yourself these questions:
- Does my home meet code requirements for high winds?
- What's my property's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and hurricane-force winds?
- Are the garage doors and roof shingles reinforced?
- Do we have any landscaping or trees that could be a wind hazard?
- Are there hurricane straps securing the roof to the walls of the home?
If you don't have protection for your windows, now's the time to get it. Storm shutters are the best defense against hurricane-force winds, but plywood also works. If you can't spring for shutters, measure all of your windows and glass doors and get 5/8-inch-thick plywood cut to fit them. Store the window covers in a place that will be easy to access.