Protect your house against storms

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Residents of coastal areas most likely to incur damage from hurricanes’ violent winds usually get plenty of warning to evacuate their homes and get to safety. However, there’s not much they can do about the homes and possessions they leave behind.

August 02, 2001

Residents of coastal areas most likely to incur damage from hurricanes' violent winds usually get plenty of warning to evacuate their homes and get to safety. However, there's not much they can do about the homes and possessions they leave behind.

Or is there? Several Web sites offer information on the best ways to minimize storm damage to houses and other buildings. For example, a newly launched site of the Institute for Business & Home Safety (www.ibhs.org) has a brochure in PDF format that can be printed out and used as a checklist for making sure your home is as secure as possible. The site also features video guides to protecting buildings from all kinds of natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires.

Fortifying your home against catastrophe involves taking a close look at not only new construction but also retrofit and even landscaping materials. Tips the IBHS offers include:

 

 

  • Install impact-resistant windows and/or impact-resistant operable shutters. Both help prevent flying debris from smashing windows.
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  • Use at least three hinges and a deadbolt security lock with a bolt at least 1 inch long. Anchor door-frames securely to wall framing.
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  • Replace glass patio doors with impact-resistant door systems made of laminated glass, plastic glazing or a combination of both.
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  • Garage doors are susceptible to wind damage because of their size. A qualified inspector can tell you if your garage door and its track system can resist high winds. If necessary, install permanent wood or metal stiffeners.
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  • Roofs are another vulnerable area. When it's time to re-roof your house, be sure the contractor re-moves all old coverings down to the wood sheathing. Then remove enough sheathing so that the con-tractor can determine whether rafters and trusses are securely fastened to the walls. Refasten or re-place any damaged sheathing in accordance with the model building code for high-wind areas.
    • Anchor the roof to the walls with metal clips and straps. Another option is to reinforce the con-nection between roof and walls with construction adhesive.
    • Seal all roof sheathing joints with self-stick rubberized asphalt tape as a secondary moisture bar-rier. Install a roof covering designed to resist high winds.

    For more information on keeping your family and your home safe from storms, visit these Web sites:

     

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  • HousingZone.com
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  • The Lowe's Home Safety Council Hurricane Readiness Guide
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  • The American Red Cross
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  • The Florida Alliance for Safe Homes (www.flash.org)
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  • The National Hurricane Center (www.nhc.noaa.gov)
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  • The Weather Channel
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  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency
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