How To Be Prepared For Natural Weather Disasters Part 4
Here Are Steps Homeowners Can Take:
- Trash cans, fallen tree limbs, barbecue grills, lawn furniture and other items can become dangerous missiles in a violent wind. Keep the lawn free of fallen limbs, and prune dead or rotten branches (or hire an arborist to do it for you). Bolt grills and lawn furniture to decks or patios or secure them to ground anchors with chain or cable. Secure trash cans with chain or cable to ground anchors or pressure-treated wooden posts sunk into the ground. Tie the trash-can lid to the can with chain or cable.
- Fasten outbuildings and sheds to the ground with the straps and ground anchors used to stabilize mobile homes.
- When planting trees, site them so that they're at least as far from the house as their mature height.
Hire an arborist to remove large trees that could fall on your house. You may be able to safely remove small trees yourself.
- Reinforce double entry doors. Double doors should be secured with slide bolts at the top and bottom of the inactive door and with a heavy-duty deadbolt: The bolts supplied with such doors aren't usually strong enough to prevent failure in high winds. You should also replace the door's hinge-attachment screws with longer ones that will extend more deeply into the doors and the door frame.
- Put up storm shutters or create plywood covers to protect windows. Storm shutters are much faster to put into operation, all you do is close and fasten them, but they're much more expensive than plywood covers. Pieces of 1/2-inch to 5/8-inch marine plywood should be cut large enough to cover the entire window and frame. Drill holes for screws or lag bolts around the perimeter of each cover, approximately every 18 inches. The bolts should be long enough to reach the wall studs around the window. Store plywood covers and fasteners where they're easy to get to, and label each cover so you know which one goes with which window. If your doors have glass panels, create covers to protect the doors too.
- Garage doors are vulnerable to damage from tornadoes and hurricanes, and could be blown in by violent winds. If you live in a susceptible area, have them reinforced by a door systems technician.
- Make sure the roof sheathing, the plywood or wooden boards nailed to the trusses or rafters and underneath the roofing materials, is secure. If most of the nails used to attach the sheathing missed the rafters, have a contractor remedy the situation.
- The end gables (side walls of the roof) are vulnerable in violent storms. They can be shored up by bracing the gables with 2-inch x 4-inch boards in an X pattern. If the end gables haven't been braced, hire a contractor to do the job.
- To further protect your home, consider having the roof fastened to the walls with hurricane straps. Call your building department to ask whether hurricane straps are recommended in your area. If so, hire a contractor to take care of it.
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