Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, and Gert: These are the uninvited guests you don’t want to hear knocking on your door this summer. The World Meteorological Organization’s annual list for tropical storms and hurricanes has 21 names ready, one for every letter except Q, U, X, Y and Z.
Though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an average year of storm activity, no danger seems average when it affects you and your family. Here are your annual reminders from ServiSolutions for protecting your property in a major storm.
Clear your yard. Bring tools, toys and patio furniture inside. Anything left outdoors, including that cute garden gnome, can become a missile in high winds.
Trim your trees. Dead branches and overgrown foliage are more likely to fall during storms, causing more damage to your property.
Repair leaks, holes and roof damage. Do everything possible to keep water out and your belongings safe and dry.
Clean gutters and clear drains. Having open drains and gutters will help direct water away from your property instead of letting it pool up and enter your home.
Prepare shutters or plywood to cover windows. Flying glass can injure your family, and broken windows leave your property vulnerable to thieves and looters after a storm.
Fill sandbags for use in doorways. These can keep floodwaters out of your home. A helpful video and written directions are available here.
Clean out your refrigerator and freezer. Remove foods that will spoil quickly. Use the coldest settings and open doors as little as possible.
Secure propane tanks. Filled with explosive fuel, propane tanks are one of the most dangerous projectiles during a hurricane. Shut off the valves and make sure the tank is bolted or tied down in a well-ventilated area in an upright position. Never bring the tank inside your home.
Fill tub and other bottles with clean tap water. You’ll want this for bathing, flushing, and general use. Authorities recommend at least three gallons per person.
Review your insurance policies. Check with your insurance agent to ensure you have coverage for the full cost of rebuilding your home. Make a list of your belongings. Consider flood insurance, because some homeowner policies cover hurricane damage but not the flood damage that comes afterward.
Don’t wait until a storm is on its way. Many of these tasks can be accomplished in advance of an approaching storm to give you peace of mind and more time to protect your most important investment – your family.