Securing Your Home From Storm Damage

    Hurricane season officially started on June 1, and although we haven’t had a big storm yet, Gainesville has already seen a good share of heavy thunderstorms and a lot of rainfall.

    What does this mean for you and your home? It’s time to get prepared. Even if a storm is not on the horizon, it is always good to be prepared for an emergency situation.

    Let’s start with the basics. In Gainesville, the main things we have to worry about in a storm are rain and wind. Rain can cause flooding in your yard along with rot and rust around the home, while heavy winds can cause infrastructure damage and power outages.

    During a storm, the ten most common things to get damaged are:

    1. Power: Heavy winds are known to knock out power lines, leaving homes without electricity for days at a time. Make sure you have an emergency preparation plan for you and your family in case of a power outage. Here is a sample prep plan.
    2. Yard: Power outages are usually caused by fallen trees and stray branches. Now is the time to trim the branches all around your home. Don’t forget to reinforce recently planted trees and other landscaping so they don’t end up in your neighbor’s yard.
    3. Roof shingles: Both heavy winds and water can lead to more damage if you have old shingles. Heavy winds can tear the shingles off your roof and heavy rains can lead to leaks inside the house. Make sure to repair any old or damaged shingles.
    4. Gutters: Your gutters are a very big part of protecting your home from water damage. They prevent water from the roof to trickle down the walls of the home, thus preventing the water from stripping away the walls and damaging the paint. Check your gutters and make sure there are no leaks or rust that could lead to damage. Make sure the gutters are draining in a place near the home that is not likely to flood during heavy rains.
    5. Awning: Do you have an awning on the front or back door? Maybe around the windows? Make sure it is well reinforced, or retract it if possible, during heavy winds.
    6. Windows: The windows themselves should be okay, but be careful of the area around the windows and trims. Make sure there are no cracks in the trim that could allow water into the home. Make sure the windows are sealed tight so moisture cannot get inside.
    7. Outdoor furniture: Many people forget this one. In case of a storm, put your outdoor furniture inside your garage or home so it doesn’t fly off and cause damage to the house or your neighbor’s house. You will probably want to cover the furniture during heavy thunderstorms to prevent water damage.
    8. Sheds: If the winds are strong enough, you may lose your shed. Reinforce it in the ground if a storm is heading your way. Make sure to seal the doors and windows to prevent moisture from leaking in.
    9. Raised decks: If you have a raised deck, make sure it is reinforced to the ground; otherwise heavy winds can get under the deck and pick it up. This can shred the whole deck and shrapnel can damage your home or garden.
    10. Screen porch: Along the same idea as the raised decks, a screen porch with a thin roof can crumble if strong winds get under it and lift it up. Make sure to reinforce your porch roof to the ground to avoid it flying off.

    These are your basics. Don’t forget to stock up on emergency supplies, and check your homeowners insurance to see what kind of coverage you have in case of a disaster. Remember that preparing for a storm involves a lot of preparation and planning for your home and your family, so begin planning now.

    Alachua County Storm Emergency Numbers

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