With Hurricane Irma looming in the Atlantic, Florida is bracing for a possible major hurricane. Back in August the NOAA predicted this "season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010". Predicting 14-19 tropical named systems, and major hurricanes between 2-5... We're already at 2.

Even if Irma's path takes it away from Florida, now's the time to get your home prepared if you haven't already. 


First and foremost, "know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecast products and especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings." - The National Hurricane Center


WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR HOME

1. Check your insurance policies: 

  • Make sure you understand the full cost of rebuilding your home if you were to lose it during a storm
  • Consider flood insurance if you don't already have it
  • Document your possessions and policies so you know what you own and what is covered in your policies

2.  Secure and seal your roof: 

  • Determine your type of roof [Gabled roofs are most prone to damage]
  • Inspect your roof's bracing
  • Make necessary repairs like adding roof straps, or hire a professional


This is a great PDF on what to look for and how to protect your home from wind damage: Against the Wind


3. Reinforce your garage door, especially if your attic is located above it

4. Secure porches and carports

5. Seal windows and doors. Cover them with hurricane shutters or plywood

6. Seal any holes (cable/other electrical wires), especially anything on the exterior walls

7. Clear the lawn - tables, chairs, swing sets, etc. Move it all inside to a secure location

Source: CBS News


Also, if you can, consider building or upgrading your home to be a Fortified Home. FORTIFIED Home™ is a set of engineering and building standards designed to help strengthen new and existing homes through system-specific building upgrades to minimum building code requirements that will reduce damage from specific natural hazards. The FORTIFIED Home™ program has three levels of designation—Bronze, Silver and Gold—that build upon each other, allowing you to choose the desired level of protection that best suits your budgets and resilience goals.


Hurricane Supply and Checklist:

Supplies, Pets, Medical Needs, House

County Emergency Management:

Hillsborough County

Pinellas County

Pasco County