Tracking the Tropics
Protecting Your Property
As a storm heads our way, it's time to go out and make sure your house is ready to weather the storm. 7's Craig Stevens has tips on protecting your property.
WSVN -- Tina and John think their house is ready to weather a storm. But is it? We sent Fred Malik, an expert in home safety, to find out.
Fred Malik of Institute for Business & Home Safety: "We want to take a look at your house and see some of the things we can do when a storm is approaching."
First, fred looks at the roof.
Fred Malik, Manager, Institute for Business & Home Safety: "Do we have any loose tiles or anything that looks like it could become flying debris?"
You should inspect your roof regularly for any missing or loose tiles and have them replaced. Also, check the soffits--the part of the roof that extends past the exterior wall. Any openings here must be secured.
Fred Malik: "Water can be driven up through those holes and cause interior damage."
Next, check your yard for anything that could become flying debris in a storm, such as a dead tree.
Fred Malik: "It's dead, it needs to be removed and replaced, because in a storm it can be uprooted and thrown against the house."
Also look out for hidden projectiles!
Fred Malik: "Take care of yard debris like this, we have some bricks and pavers left over here from some other project."
Items like the grill, patio furniture and bicycles need to be secured or brought inside. Anything flammable requires special attention.
Fred Malik: "Keeping the propane tanks outside but keeping them grouped together in a close corner, that's probably a good plan."
John Cordone, homeowner: "Fred, what are your concerns with our back patio?"
Like many South Florida homeowners, the Cordones have a pool but should they drain it before a hurricane hits?
Fred Malik: "You don't want to drain it all the way down, because the weight and mass of that water pushing against the concrete structure of the pool keeps it intact."
Also, check for loose boards on your pool fence.
Fred Malik: "These things are very susceptible for coming loose and becoming flying debris, not only impacting your house but your neighbor's as well."
This house has hurricane impact windows but Fred says if you use metal shutters, now is the time to make sure they're labeled properly. Also, don't forget you need a good pair of gloves to protect yourself from the sharp edges.
If you're using plywood...
Fred Malik: "It [Plywood] needs to be a minimum of 5/8 inches thick."
Once inside, don't forget to lower the temperature on your refrigerator to keep food fresher longer if the power goes out. Also, turn down your thermostat to keep the house cool. Unplug any unnecessary items, like small electronic appliances or your electronics, to avoid power surge problems.
Craig Stevens: "Most importantly, find a safe room, such as an interior bathroom, for your family to safely ride out the storm. Fred says we can all remain safe this hurricane season by preparing a little at a time."
Fred Malik: "Being proactive, and taking it in bite-sized pieces. Don't try and eat the elephant all at one time. Spread it out so it fits into your lifestyle and it fits into your budget better."
Craig Stevens: "If you would like to learn more about strengthening your home before a hurricane, log onto www.wsvn.com for more tips.