How to secure your home against a major hurricane

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Hurricane Ian has made landfall in southwestern Florida as a powerful Category 4 storm. In Georgia, coastal residents and local officials are preparing for the impacts they will see in the coming days.

Part of preparing for a natural disaster like Hurricane Ian is securing your home against wind damage and heavy rainfall. We spoke with AdvantaClean Atlanta President Sari Papazian on some of the ways you can minimize damage to your property during a major storm.

Know proper sand bag use! If you buy sandbags, fill them with sand and not soil, but don’t overfill them. Fill them only 2/3 of the way. If they’re overfilled, they won’t lay flat. If they’re underfilled they’ll leave gaps that will allow the water to seep through.

Cover doors by duct taping a plastic tarp to the door and then laying down sandbags at the door’s opening. Sandbags alone without the plastic sheet may not stop water.

Be Aware of Outside Threats! Clear debris from gutters and window sills because heavy rain causes water to drain unevenly. Consider adding a longer downspout extension on your gutters to divert water farther away and help minimize flooding into your home.

Check for Leaks! Before rain starts, place towels on the windows and buckets on the floor. In heavy rains, you may have to change the towels and buckets several times. Remove wet towels and buckets or you risk mold growth which can start 24 hours after the rain hits. Put aluminum foil or pie plates underneath furniture legs to prevent staining.

Don’t forget to take photos! Homeowners often don’t have any proof of their belongings or the condition they were in before the storm. You should take photos of every room in your house, as proof for the insurance company.

Insurance! Insurance! Insurance! Buy flood insurance as soon as possible, especially if you live in coastal regions.

Have the contact of your preferred cleaning company and contractor ready and on hand in the event your home sustains damage. Contact these professionals after the storm has cleared and go over water damage restoration, mold removal and anything else your home may need.

Check your water! Hurricanes, storms and other natural disasters can introduce bacteria and chemicals into your water. When in doubt, test your water safety levels.

For more home preparation tips like these and to view a full flood clean-up guide, click here.