I had been thinking about another topic idea for this blog, but in the midst of the recent hurricane destruction caused by Harvey, and now Irma, it seemed trivial to say the least. I live in southern Indiana, a region that sees its share of severe weather from thunderstorms and tornadoes. In my lifetime, there have been a couple touchdowns in the area, one of which caused mass destruction and loss, but we have seen nothing like sheer devastation the residents of Texas and soon Florida must deal with. My heart goes out to everyone being affected. I can’t imagine the fear and stress home owners, investors and families are going through as they evacuate and consider potentially losing their homes.
I am not an insurance broker, nor am I a risk assessor, but I thought it might be helpful to share some resources from professionals who specialize in protecting one’s home in the event of severe weather and how to repair and rebuild after. We have not seen the end of hurricane season for this year, and many areas of the country experience other types of severe weather, so I thought these topics would be helpful for all of us, no matter our locale.
Apartment Therapy: This common-sense guide is relevant because it was published just last month and shares tips for preparing your home’s interior and exterior for a hurricane or other severe storm. This easy read highlights the most critical processes to carry out before evacuating if you’re planning to do so. I particularly like the tip that recommends closing and locking all interior doors to help block the wind and prevent them from flying open and causing more damage. I never would have thought to do that. Typically, this site is known for décor tips and moving guides, but I found this article to be informative, and matter-of-fact for a quick guide when you need to get on the move.
New York Times: This article is specifically for planning an evacuation before the storm. With the stress of picking up and leaving quite quickly, there is more potential to forget something important. This piece does a great job outlining how to prepare your home and family to leave effectively, and also how to safely come home once the storm has passed. I think the most critical piece of advice in this article is to put all important documents such as birth certificates, passports, ID cards, social security cards, and any other legal documents in a fireproof, waterproof container or take them with you. Also, grab any important personal items like family jewelry or photos that you deem irreplaceable.
House Logic: Windows and doors are particularly vulnerable in hurricane-force winds and other types of storms. This article specifically targets protecting your home’s windows and doors as much as possible. There are ways to try to prevent some potential damage, and I appreciate that this article outlines ways for home owners to take action and try to protect their largest investment and their family’s home. In particular, I thought the section about reinforcing garage doors was quite beneficial.
Popular Mechanics: If you want to get technical, this is the article for you. This piece was recently republished after it was originally written in 2011 because of the uptick in severe weather. I appreciate that it contains information for home owners dealing with hurricanes or tornadoes, but to be clear, the tasks outlined in this article seem like they will take time. For our friends in Florida, there is not much time before Irma strikes, but this is a good resource to keep on-hand, and obviously a helpful site for the rest of us who are not dealing with the current storm. While the article seems to aim at the DIY group, I might suggest looking into some professionals to tackle these tasks if your property is in an active area for severe weather. It even goes through an “effectiveness rating” for each project, so you can prioritize what is most worthy of your budget and try to do more each time you can.
Like I mentioned, right now so much seems trivial compared to the safety of our friends in the path of these hurricanes. I just couldn’t write about staging tips and curb appeal this time around because none of that matters when your community is facing the magnitude of danger as Florida is now and Texas did las week. If you are able, please consider donating to organizations who are helping everyone in the aftermath, and if you are in an area that is evacuating or will be affected by the storms, please know you’re in the thoughts and prayers of so many.
Stay safe and take care of your neighbors, wherever you are.