Reduce flying debris
- Secure weak or loose fencing.
- Trim trees and shrubs and remove any weak tree sections at risk of falling on your home or other structures.
- Move lawn furniture, toys, potted plants, garden tools, and other yard objects inside; anchor heavier yard objects deep into the ground.
Protect windows and doors
- If you have shutters, monitor weather conditions to ensure you have enough time to deploy them before the storm hits your area.
- Use plywood in place of shutters only as a last resort.
- Use 1/2 in. to 3/4 in. CDX plywood available in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets. Plywood should not be used to cover openings larger than 4 ft x 8 ft unless additional framing is added. Use two layers of 3/8-in. material to obtain the same effect as one layer of 3/4-in. material. Orient Strand Board (OSB) is not recommended.
Note: Taping windows provides no protection and wastes time.
Close ALL windows and doors
Close ALL windows, exterior doors, garage doors, and interior doors to keep out flying debris and help keep the roof on. It is a myth that you should open windows during a hurricane.
Shut the Doors
Reduce water damage risks
- Check doors, windows, and walls for openings where water can get in; use silicone caulk to seal any cracks, gaps, or holes—especially around openings where cables and pipes enter the house.
- Place all appliances that are on the ground floor, including stoves, washers, and dryers on masonry blocks or concrete.
- Move furniture and electronic devices off the floor, particularly in basements and first floor levels.
- Remove area rugs from floors so they won’t get wet and grow mold or mildew, especially if the property will be unattended for an extended period of time and/or if long-term power outages are possible.
- Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets could possibly be under water.
Make sure caulking around windows and doors is in good shape and not cracked, broken, or missing, and fill any holes or gaps around pipes or wires that enter your building. This will reduce the risk of leaks from wind-driven rain.
Inspect carports and other attached structures
- Have porches, carports, entryway canopies, and storage sheds inspected to make sure they are firmly attached and in sound structural condition.
- Consider the following repairs to improve strength:
- Replace any small, weak, or damaged posts, and strengthen post connections to the foundation/carport slab using appropriate brackets, bolts, and anchors.
- Supplement attachments of roof pans fastened with corroded fasteners, or fasteners without washers, by adding larger-size fasteners that use combination metal/neoprene washers—and install fasteners no more than 4 inches apart across each panel.
- Install posts and a support beam near the side of the home, and attach roof pans to this beam (unless the home included specific anchorage designed to support the roof of the attached structure).
Learn more about retrofitting, purchasing, and installing carports with the IBHS Consumer Safety Guide to Carports & Other Attached Structures.