9 Hurricane home lockdown tips

July 28, 2015

If you can't escape home when a hurricane or tornado hits, there are steps you can take to stay as safe as possible.

9 Hurricane home lockdown tips

1. Lock your doors and windows

  • If you're at home during a hurricane, lock doors and windows to reduce vibration, and close drapes and blinds to help contain broken glass. Stay away from windows.
  • If the rain is beating under the doors, place folded towels along the insides of sills to absorb the water.
  • The eye may be passing overhead, but the most damaging part of the storm will follow: Once the eye has passed, the winds will blow from the opposite direction, and trees, shrubs, houses, sheds, garages, signs and other objects that were damaged by the first winds will be hit from the other side.

2. Dealing with window cracks

  • If a window cracks during a not-too-fierce storm, put duct tape over the crack to prevent it from spreading and producing an even larger break.
  • If the break is too large to stabilize with tape, put on heavy work gloves and carefully pull out the broken glass, working from the top of the pane down. Then staple or tape polyethylene sheeting or a heavy-duty plastic garbage bag over the open area and nail a piece of plywood over it to keep out the wind.

3. Watch for tornadoes

  • Even after a hurricane is over, don't get too smug — it's common for tornadoes to follow soon afterward. Stay indoors until you are sure it's safe to go outside.
  • Whether or not they come in the aftermath of a hurricane, tornadoes can be devastating, and they can develop quickly. If a tornado approaches, find a low, windowless, structurally strong place to take shelter. Good places include: under a staircase; in the basement; under a solid table, desk, bed, or an upholstered chair that's tipped over against an inside wall at the centre of the house; or an inside hall or closet on the lowest floor.

4. Take refuge if a tornado is coming

  • If you're outside when a tornado's on the way, take refuge in a steel-framed or reinforced concrete building.
  • If you're in open country, move away from the tornado's path at a right angle.
  • If you can't escape, lie down in a ditch. Shield your head and cover your face with clothing to avoid choking on dust. Don't stay in a car, mobile home or trailer.

5. Beware of damage lurking

  • Hurricanes and tornadoes cause major damage — everything from blown-out roofs and shattered windows to flooding, falling trees and downed power lines.
  • Danger may lurk inside your home, too: waterlogged ceilings may come crashing down, and floors may give way under foot.
  • If you've evacuated, don't return home until the authorities assure you it's safe.

6. Tree removal

  • Storms wreak havoc on trees, and damaged trees can be a threat to you and your property. If a storm partially uproots a tree, splinters a large branch, or causes a major split at a fork (where two major branches meet), the tree or heavy branches may weaken in time and fall onto your roof or pose a threat to passersby.
  • It's probably best to hire a professional tree service to remove or trim large branches or trees.
  • For small trees or small, low branches, you may be able to do the job.

7. Save damaged items

  • Save swatches of damaged flooring materials, window coverings and furnishings, and take pictures of all interior and exterior damage to show your insurance claims adjuster or agent.

8. Have appliances inspected

Before using any storm-damaged appliances, furnaces or air conditioners, have them inspected and repaired by qualified personnel.

9. Speed up the drying process

  • Speed the drying process by opening windows, doors, drawers and cabinets.
  • If you have electricity, turn on dehumidifiers, fans and air conditioners to remove moisture from the air.
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