Prepare for the worst
The popular saying, “prevention is better than cure” is popular for a reason … It’s true! With this in mind, here are some tips to help you prepare your home, car and business for adverse weather conditions such as a tropical storm or hurricane.
The best time to prepare is now, by keeping abreast of weather reports, downloading a weather app and monitoring your daily updates and warning notices during the hurricane season.
Preparing your home
Using your smartphone, get ready to take photos of everything in your home and yard as they are now, before any damages occur.
Capture images of the roof (and gutters) and the surrounding trees. Grab shots of the interior and exterior of your home. Be sure to include images of the ceiling, walls and floors in all the rooms. Similarly, get multiple photos of the external walls including where the walls intersect with the roof and ground.
If you have a satellite dish, swimming pool, doghouse, utility shed, gazebo, fence or some other external feature, snap that too! Get as many photos as you can, from as many angles as possible.
Also take photos of items you have insured like paintings, appliances, furniture, your car and so on. If your home or your items take a blow, the photos you took the time to get will be helpful in your claim.
Clear trees, gutters and drains
While the start of the hurricane season is the perfect time to clear trees, gutters and drains,this can also be done and maintained during the season when the weather permits.
Jamaica is blessed with many fruit-bearing and shady trees. Functional and lovely as they are, they must be pruned regularly. Overgrown trees are hazardous in the high winds associated with a storm or hurricane. Branches snap or trees get uprooted. Clogged gutters and drains present their own hazard. Even in the best of times, a clogged drain can cause problems like damaging your roof or foundation and harbouring mould.
So, trim your trees and keep your drains and gutters clear.
Water and Power
Take a moment to get familiar with your electrical panel box and locate your water lock-off, in case you might have to operate them in adverse conditions or as part of a quick evacuation.
If you are forced to evacuate or fear a damaging electrical surge, unplug your electrical appliances and turn off your main circuit breaker. Do not attempt to shut off power from your breaker box if you must stand in water to do so.
Got loose items in your yard or dangling from your roof? Take a moment to evaluate what items need to be cleared and where it will be stored, if a storm watch is announced. Having a plan now makes it easier and faster if the time comes to clear them away.
Consider storm grade hurricane shutters or storm panels to protect your home. If this is not possible, measure glass doors and windows and use plywood cut-to- measure as a covering. You can even drill the required holes beforehand, and make sure you have screws and rawl plugs on hand. Tape is not a recommended option for glass windows as it provides little to no protection.
Plan for the aftermath
Make sure you have containers to store water and catch leaks. Old towels and clothes are especially handy. Many storms are followed by a period without electrical power, so make sure you have candles, lamps and batteries on hand. Review your stock of non-perishable food items and decide if any need replacing.
Having a good homeowners, renters or contents policy provides peace of mind. Visit GenAc.com at any time to review the multiple options available to you.
Take a weekend and tackle the task of preparing your home for the hurricane season.