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Damaged house
Posted February 18, 2019 | 9:18 AM

Prepare Now for Hurricane Season

Protect your biggest investment - your home - against storms

The 2018 hurricane season ended Nov. 30. But this is no time to stand down. Hillsborough County Emergency Management encourages residents to take steps now to ensure their home is as ready as possible for the next round of severe tropical weather.

Hurricane Michael, which caused major damage to Florida Panhandle communities with wind and water in October, once again showed that those who protect their homes against storms are most likely to get through them with less damage.

Here are a few things to consider when assessing your home's capability of standing up to a hurricane:

Roofs

There are three parts to a well-functioning roof system, all of which are critical to maintaining the integrity of the structure: The cover that keeps a house dry; sheathing and framing that establish the roof's shape and support the cover; and connections between the roof structure and the walls. Consider all three elements when assessing a roof's ability to withstand hurricane winds.

Windows and Doors

These openings are particularly vulnerable to high winds. They compromise the integrity of a structure - your home - by providing places where wind can force its way inside and put pressure on the walls and roof. Tightly sealed frames and high-impact materials lessen the likelihood of extensive damage.

Garage Door

The largest opening on most houses, garage doors are particularly susceptible to high winds because of their size and the lightweight materials of which most are made. Reinforcing the door helps protect not only the garage, but your home's interior.

Porches, Carports, Entryways, and Other Attached Structures

Many of these structures are attached to a house's roof and walls. If an attached structure is ripped off by high winds, there's a good chance the damage will extend to the main building. Meanwhile, remains of the add-on structure can become projectiles, threatening your and your neighbors' houses.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes FLASH has more information about potential wind and water damage to your home, and steps you can take to mitigate them.

Check to see if you need a permit for any upgrades or repairs. If you plan to hire a contractor, make sure they are licensed.

Hurricane season begins June 1, and continues through November. Take action now to get your home storm-ready before severe weather heads our way.

Meanwhile, make sure you and your family have made preparations to Stay Safe.

Photo: Hurricane Michael destroyed many buildings in the Florida Panhandle. The damage was a stark reminder to protect your home before tropical weather systems begin forming in late spring. FEMA/Kenneth Wilsey

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