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Hurricane guide

What to do to prepare and recover from a hurricane.

Roof and tree that have been damaged by a hurricane

Before

  • Bring inside loose, lightweight objects that could become airborne in high winds (like patio furniture, garbage cans) and anchor other objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (like propane tanks).
  • Cover all windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection, but another option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood.
  • Close storm shutters and lock all doors and windows.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary, so your food will last longer if you lose power. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check food temperature when power is restored.

After

  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Check for gas leaks by sound and smell. Apply a mixture of soap and water to the pipe, bubbles will form if there’s a leak. In that case, shut off all gas and call a professional.
  • Ensure that electrical, water, and sewage systems are functioning.
  • Boil tap water for at least one minute before drinking. If you’re at an altitude over 6,652 feet, boil for three minutes.
  • In the event of lost power, do not turn on your power breakers until after power has been restored.
  • Once power has been restored, monitor how the electricity is functioning by both sight and smell in order to prevent a fire.
  • If you see any sparks or smell anything burning, immediately shut off your power supply and get professional assistance.
  • Assess any damage your home has suffered and photograph it to assist with filing an insurance claim.

Hurricane damage requires a professional
It’s almost never a good idea to attempt to make these types of repairs yourself, but there are a few things you can do in the meantime.

  • Roof repairs
    What you can do: If you can safely access your roof, cover any damaged areas with a tarp, reattach loose shingles with asphalt roof cement, and patch up any other minor issues that can be fixed with nails or cement.

  • Window damage
    What you can do: Covering broken windows with plywood or plastic.

  • Ceiling damage
    What you can do: Use lumber or 4-by-4s to brace a sagging ceiling and remove wet insulation to speed up the drying process.

  • Exposed wires
    What you can do: Turn off electricity from the main breaker.

  • Fallen trees
    What you can do: Stay put. Large trees typically require complicated and at times dangerous removals that shouldn't be attempted without a specialist.

  • Gas leaks
    What you can do: Evacuate right away. Do not operate any switches or electronics and do not use your cell phone until you’re away from the house.

What to do next

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