Regret is common after a hurricane –
Regret for the preparation of things you could have done but didn’t. If only I had properly secured my windows. If only I had organized my important papers and documents where I could find them fast.
However, not all hurricane advice makes sense.
Things you shouldn’t regret – or do in a hurricane
1. X-ing the windows with tape
Every year, for decades, hurricane experts have been advising against taping windows to “strengthen them” ahead of a pending storm.
When you apply tape over your windows, you aren’t making them stronger. Unless they are hurricane-rated windows, when flying debris stirred up by winds that can be in the triple digits smashes against a regular window, it’s going to break.
Plus, after the storm, that tape is going to have to come off if everything’s intact. Getting sunbaked adhesive off of a window is way harder than putting it on.
Instead, secure the windows with shutters, if you have them. Or put up plywood. Consider hurricane-rated windows (pricey, but if you’ve the means, a relief). Also, give windows a fighting chance by removing loose objects from your yard and trimming trees.
2. Cracking open a window to relieve pressure
Some people think it’s a good idea to crack open a window to relieve the pressure inside the house to keep it from expanding like a balloon and blowing up. Homes don’t blow up from internal pressure during a hurricane. Rather, once wind gains entrance it can streak upward and push your roof off the foundation, making it appear as if the house blew up from internal pressure.
Don’t let the wind gain entrance to your home. Protect all sides of your house if you can.
3. Using your body to brace doors and windows
Those who have been through major hurricanes may tell you of the surreal visual of watching their doors and windows bending to the pressure from the winds. In many cases they held, believe it or not. Don’t buoy them with your body. You’re no match for nature’s fury. Get into another room, preferably a windowless room, instead.
4. Using candles
It’s a potential fire hazard.
Speaking of buying batteries, don’t wait until a tropical storm or hurricane is on the news and heading in your direction to rush to the supermarket to buy supplies, like water, batteries, medicines, pet food.
Hurricane preparedness should start ahead of storms.
Reduce the stress of standing in long lines and the stress of not finding what you need. You’ve heard of infant formula shortages and even shortages of canned cat food, judging by the empty shelves at our neighborhood Publix?
Shop ahead of time. And if you have insurance on your home and flood insurance, make sure ahead of time that your policies are current and that you have sufficient coverage for hurricane season. And be organized. Have important documents like these and others in a grab-and-go spot you know of ahead of time.
6. Going outside too soon
Cabin fever in a shuttered home is a bore. Getting hurt is worse. Once a storm has passed, downed trees and power lines can be dangerous if you stumble into them. So be careful.
Avoid the temptation to venture outdoors during the calm in the eye of the storm, the National Hurricane Center warns. We know you want to take selfies and socialize and see what just happened – but wait until meteorologists inform that the storm is really over in your area. That lull is deceptive and even stronger winds can quickly resume.
Drive only if you have to because roads without stoplights and covered with debris or water, can be deadly.
7. Running a generator inside
Do not run a generator from inside your house or garage – even if you have the doors and windows open. You expose yourself to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The same warning applies to running it from your balcony when you live in a multi-unit building like an apartment or town house. Balconies are too close to your own living areas and to your neighbors’ homes.
Also, never run a generator on grass or on a metal surface. Make sure the surface is dry before starting your generator, and keep your hands dry, too.
8. Not evacuating if told to do so
If there is a mandatory evacuation order where you live, make plans ahead of time so you know where to go – and get out when the getting’s good. If you have pets and are considering a shelter, make sure you find one that allows pets, or have a pet plan ahead of time, suggests Florida Disaster.Org, a division of emergency management.
Public safety officials will not risk their lives to respond to emergency calls in mandatory evacuation zones during a storm, so you can potentially be on your own for 72 hours after a storm.
When Disaster Strikes, Know Your Rights
We hope this never happens to you, but if you do suffer property damage due to a severe weather storm and need to file a claim with your insurance company, you may or may not know that you have the right to obtain your own representation.
Contact Claims Aid Consultants at 954-482-5246 or 772-249-7988 for a free, no-obligation property damage inspection throughout the state of Florida. We ONLY work for you, not the insurance company! Our public adjusters will help you navigate through the entire claims process to get you the best settlement and your home renovated and repaired as quick as possible.