If you protect every opening in your house with shutters or impact-resistant windows that meet current building codes, your house stands a good chance of surviving a hurricane intact.
Hurricane straps: These metal straps hold the roof frame to the walls of your house. They are found where the trusses meet the walls. Look for loose, rusting or missing straps.
Gable ends: Reinforce wood gable ends. Connect 2-by-4s to trusses and roof beams to provide better strength against the wind.
Shutters: Inspect windows and shutters to make sure they are in working condition. Practice putting up all your shutters to make sure they fit and you have all the hardware.
Landscaping: Trim trees and shrubs. Cut limbs or trees that could fall against the house. Replace gravel landscaping with shredded bark.
Trusses and beams: Repair or replace trusses or beams that have cracks, large knots or insect damage. To make temporary repairs, nail 8-foot-long (or longer) 2-by-4s on both sides of the damaged truss or beam.
Nails and plywood: Resin-coated nails should be used at 6-inch intervals to attach plywood to trusses. Poorly attached plywood is likely to blow off under hurricane conditions, exposing the attic and house interior to damage.
Boats: Be prepared to secure your boat at home. Place it in a safe harbor, or store it at a marina or dock.
Garage door: Protect garage doors with hurricane panels, or reinforce the door from the inside with wood studs or metal braces attached lengthwise. Make sure that the grooved runners in which the door's wheels travel are firmly attached to the wall.
Exterior: Gather outside furniture, garbage cans and other potential debris and move them inside. Ask neighbors to do the same.
Doors: Inspect doors to make sure they are in good condition. Add extra locks or slide bolts to inward-swinging doors. French doors and double doors are especially vulnerable.
Tiles and shingles: Repair cracked or missing roof tiles or loose asphalt shingles.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service www.scrippsnews.com)
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