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How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

Hurricane ArthurWith Hurricane Arthur making its way up the coast, Massachusetts residents are bracing for strong winds and heavy rain to arrive for the 4th of July weekend. According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the current forecast track will bring up to 2.5 inches of rain to southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape and Islands. With heavy rain and strong winds, there is a possibility of power outages and tree damage.

Homeowners can take steps to protect their homes from damage during severe storms:

Prepare for Loss of Electricity

Power outages are one of the most common occurrences during a storm. In case of power surges unplug televisions, computers, and small appliances but keep your refrigerator plugged in until the power goes out.

To prepare for outages that may last longer than a few hours, turn your freezer and refrigerator thermostat up. A full freezer actually stays colder longer but don’t fill it with food. Instead, you can minimize food loss by keeping 10 two-liter bottles or half gallon milk containers filled with water in your freezer. When the power goes out, put a few of these frozen bottles in your refrigerator to help keep food cool. Remember to empty and turn off the ice maker so the ice doesn’t melt and spill all over your floor while the power is out.

If you have an electric well pump you will lose water pressure, so be sure you have enough drinking water ready. Make sure you have plenty of batteries and a few flashlights handy. Charge your laptops and cell phones and make sure you have car chargers for each device.

Protect Home from Damaging Winds

Severe damage to your home can occur from flying debris and fallen trees or branches. Check trees and shrubs in your yard for branches that need to be trimmed or look like they could break off easily. Bring in outdoor furniture and secure items that can’t be removed. Store sprinklers, hoses, and yard ornaments, too.

Many people don’t realize that the garage door is the most vulnerable area of the home for wind damage. A garage door is held in place only by the door’s tracks and yet is it the largest opening to your house. As the wind pressure builds, the garage door can buckle and then pull away from the garage door tracks. Once the garage door comes out of the tracks, high winds can enter your home and blow out doors, windows, walls, and even the roof. To prevent this from happening you can reinforce the garage door with a bracing kit which you can get at a home supply store.

Reduce Risk of Flooding

To avoid water backups, clean out all your rain gutters and exterior drains. Water in gutters may not just spill over onto the ground — it could back up and cause water to seep into a home’s walls.  Install a battery backup system for your water pump to guard against flooding and interior damage.  Fix any leaks in the roof or foundation.

Be sure to keep an emergency supply kit on hand. It should include water, non-perishable food, a can opener, a battery operated radio, a first aid kit, and flashlight and batteries.

And don’t forget your pet. Make sure you have enough food and water for them. If your pet needs to go outside make sure you accompany them so they don’t come in contact with downed power lines.