Hurricane season is upon us! While many of us living in the Lowcountry are seasoned pros in hurricane preparedness, it never hurts to refresh the memory and make a list of "to-do's" to keep on hand. If you're NOT familiar with how to prepare for a hurricane, don't panic. As long as you take certain precautions, you and your home should weather the storm just fine. Before you do anything else, decide whether you will evacuate or stay and ride out the storm. If you live in a flood zone that could suffer from a storm surge, the best thing to do is evacuate. If city officials tell you to evacuate, DO IT. Don't learn the hard way.
Whether you stay or evacuate, you'll need to prepare your home for intense wind and rain. Check out our hurricane preparation to-do list below!
Contrary to what you may have heard or done in the past, don't tape your windows. It's a waste of time. It might keep glass from flying everywhere in the event that the window does break, but there's no guarantee. It certainly won't keep the window from breaking in the first place.
If you have hurricane shutters, put them up a day or two before the hurricane is expected to make landfall.
If you decide that plywood is the way to go, make sure you don't wait until the last minute to buy it. Do so early in the season and have it and the necessary tools on hand in advance. You'll thank yourself later. Buy 3/4-inch thick plywood and enough screws to place 18 inches apart all the way around.
Block all views of the inside of your home if you decide not to cover the windows. Hang drapes and make sure blinds are closed, etc. You never know when looters will show up to take a peek inside post-storm.
Move any outdoor items into the garage or the house. This includes grills, patio furniture, lawnmowers, garden hoses, toys and playsets, trash cans, and decorative items. Ask your neighbors to do the same to lower the risk of someone else's belongings blowing over and knocking out one of your windows.
Examine the landscaping around your home. Trim any dead limbs and branches from surrounding trees and bushes. They're sure to break off in heavy winds and can damage roofs, windows, and cars. If there are any large, weaker trees (pines, for example) close to the house, consider cutting them down.
Check gutters to make sure they're clear of leaves and other debris. You'll want them in working order once the heavy rains start to fall!
If you decide not to evacuate, prepare a room for your family to take shelter in during the storm. This room should ideally have no windows or exterior doors and only one interior door. If you don't have a room without windows, a hallway will work in a pinch. Stock the room with bedding, a radio, batteries, flashlights/glow sticks, and enough food and water to last your family for about twelve hours. If you have pets, don't forget to include their necessities as well. Candles can go into the mix if you don't have gas lines that could possibly be compromised.
Store valuables and important documents in a waterproof container that you can keep with you. Take pictures or videos of valuables for the insurance company.
Check expiration dates on all items in your hurricane kit. If you don't have a hurricane kit, MAKE ONE NOW.
What to include in a hurricane preparedness kit:
Enough non-perishable (dried, canned, boxed) foods and water to last at least three days.
Plenty of extra batteries
First aid kit
Non-electric can opener
Paper plates and plastic cups and utensils
Trash bags and duct tape
Pet ID, collars, and leashes
For a more comprehensive list on how to prepare your hurricane kit, visit Hurricane.com.
What other hurricane preparation tips do you have? Tell us in the comments section below!