Finding the strongest, most reinforced room in your home and keeping it stocked with the right supplies can mean the difference between life and death during a hurricane. Here's how to stay safe during a storm.
Stay away from windows and exterior doors. The strongest wall in a two-story home is often near the stairwell. A first-floor closet nearby may be the safest spot.
Reinforce your home. If you can afford to, consider spending about $1,000 to hire a reputable contractor to reinforce the safe area in your house.
If you think you have a poorly designed home, it's critical to have it inspected for hurricane readiness -- before a storm. That way, you can find out if anything is wrong and get it fixed. Unless you know the construction business, consider hiring an inspector. A private inspector generally charges about $300 to examine a three-bedroom home. Most structural problems, once you've identified them, can be corrected for less than $1,500.
What to Do When the Storm Hits
- Move to a small, interior room with no or few windows
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors
- Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Close the fireplace damper.
- Bring your family disaster supply kit and make sure the radio is working.
- Don't forget to bring your pets into the room with an animal carrier if you have to leave after the storm.
- Ideally, bring your cell phone and charger, but also have a land-line phone in the room as cell towers may be overwhelmed or damaged.
- Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food warp) to seal all cracks around the doors and any vents into the room.
- Check the radio or your TV (if available) for further instructions & updates
- Pull in a mattress and blankets for everyone in the room
- Bring in tools & protective clothing as well in case you have to break through debris
- Have books and games or other forms of entertainment on hand