We were just coming off the heels of Hurricane Harvey only to be hit with Hurricane Irma days later. Nobody wants the reality of what might happen but it's important to understand and be prepared as much as possible.
One of the biggest things to prepare and plan for is to evacuate when you're told to do so even before. There's just no point to risk it if there's any chance of death or injury.
That being said, there are some things to help prepare your home just in case it gets hit.
#1. Review your insurance policy.
Ask your insurance company what they will cover. Many insurance companies will handle general fire or theft but may not have coverage for natural disasters. Also, you might have hurricane insurance but not flood insurance. Many people may not even be able to get flood insurance so it's important to understand what you have, what it covers, and talk to them about your concerns so that you are covered or have a plan of action if you need to.
#2. Take an inventory of your property.
Go throughout your house and take pictures of each room. Take specific pictures of high-priced items or high to get personal materials such as pianos, jewelry, high-end furniture and other items. Make a list of all of these things and have them in the cloud so that you can access them should your home get destroyed.
#3. Secure and seal your roof if you can.
The roof is one of the largest potential openings on the house and wind and water can do a tour of damage to a roof. Try to inspect your roof ahead of time to make sure that all the shingles are secured and that there are no broken or missing tiles. You may have to spend about $500 to seal the roof deck, but it could help.
#4. Consider roof straps.
Florida requires builders to attaca home's roofof to the walls with metal straps. So make sure that those roof straps are in good working condition and have been installed properly.
#5. Seal windows and doors.
Check the seals around your windows and doors. You might just get a little bit of wind and rain but you certainly don't want any of that coming in through the cracks in and around the windows. This could lead to rot and mildew inside the walls. This also includes sealing any additional holes from electrical wires or cabling coming into the house.
#6. Clear the lawn and deck.
Make sure you're not leaving anything lying around such as lawn furniture, pots, vases, chairs, anything that could be blown around and used as a missile heading toward your windows or your doors and the side of your house. Make sure everything is stored indoors or secured to the ground.
#7. Reinforce your garage door.
Garage doors can blow in and if you have an attic above the garage it can blow up and tear the house apart. Strengthen your existing garage door by installing a vertical garage door brace and reinforcing it with horizontal wooden beams. [Source]
#8. Have an emergency pack ready to go.
This will include all first aid supplies, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, flashlights and batteries, chargers for your phone, cash, food and supplies for your pets. You may also need about 1 gallon of water per family per member per day.
#9. Put things up that you want to save.
It's hard to prop up couches and chairs, but try to put everything up at least 5 feet or higher in the room to protected as much is possible. Put computers and power supplies up into closets and pick anything up off the floor that you want saved such as books, rugs, shoes, blankets and chairs if you can.
Hold on tight Florida, Irma is coming for us. But, we can try to be as prepared as possible both for our own safety initially and for the rebuilding of our homes later on. But, let's all pray we don't have to go that far.