Your home is one of your largest investments, so protecting it from natural disasters should be a top priority.
With over 32 years of experience as an electrical contractor in Charleston, Transworld Electric has experienced a number of hurricanes including Hurricane Hugo.
Below are 5 Home Safety Tips that will help you prepare your home for hurricane season.
1. Review Home Insurance Policy:
You should review your existing insurance policy and make sure your most valuable items are covered for damage or loss. Homeowners insurance does not cover flood insurance, visit The National Flood Insurance Program, https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program , to learn more about flood zone safety.
For insurance purposes, take photos of your house before a storm hits. This includes the exterior front and back. Snap pictures of each room, giving extra attention to valuables, such as electronics and jewelry.
2. Prepare Your Home:
- Strap down the roof. Use hurricane straps or clips to fasten your home’s roof to the frame of the house, reducing roof damage.
- Put head and foot bolts on entry doors. Give doors extra protection against the wind by installing bolts at the top and bottom.
- Buy or make window covers or storm shutters. Install hurricane shutters or cut thick plywood boards to fit each window of your home.
- Caulk around doors and windows. Wind-driven rain can cause moisture damage in your home, even when the structure remains intact.
- Protect attached structures. Make sure carports, porches and decks, entry canopies, and sheds are sound and firmly attached.
- Test sump pumps and drains. Test drains and sump pumps to be sure they’re working well.
- Hurricane kit. Build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan. If evacuation is necessary, having an evacuation plan in place is a great way to make sure the process goes smoothly under pressure.
3. Install surge protection
Power surges can occur instantly during a storm and can damage your appliances and electronics. You can add a power surge protector to your electrical panel and use power strips with built-in surge protectors to help protect your property. Your heating and air conditioning system may also need special protection.
4. Backup Power
Power is often the first thing to go when there’s severe weather. Depending on the severity of the storm, it can take hours or days for the power company to restore services and a generator is the best thing to have in a blackout. There are two types of generator used during a power outage: standby generators and portable generators.
A standby generator, unlike a portable generator, is permanently connected to your electrical system and goes on automatically when the power goes out. Standby generators can run on propane or natural gas, eliminating the need to monitor the fuel. You can buy one large enough to power everything in your house, or buy a smaller unit and choose the most critical circuits to power. Standby generators need to serviced annually and we recommend buying a generator from a local dealer so if there is an emergency they will be someone nearby who will be familiar with the maintenance and repair procedures for your model.
Portable generators can be a very useful resource but they can be very dangerous so it is important that they are always used with caution. Check out this blog on Portable Generator Safety.
5. Electrical Safety
In the event power is lost, it is important to know what is necessary to protect your electrical system and appliances so you can prevent electrical fires, and lessen the chances of a circuit overload when the service comes back on. First, unplug sensitive electronic appliances such as TVs, VCRs, microwave ovens and computers – this will protect your appliances against power fluctuations that can occur when power is restored. After power is restored, be sure to wait five to ten minutes before turning on appliances and heating systems. Never replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker with wet hands or while standing on a wet (or damp) surface. If power lines and poles are down in your yard or in the street, always treat them as if they are energized and dangerous. Never touch them and make sure to call your local utility company. If you are evacuating we recommend turning off the main breaker completely before you leave.
Contact Transworld Electric if you need assistance with preparing your home for hurricane season.
Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected.
In addition to preparing your home for hurricane season, here are some question you can ask yourself as you prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm.
- Do you have an evacuation plan?
Charleston is a coastal city that is surrounded by beautiful beaches, river, and creeks but if a hurricane or tropical storm hits, those waterways can cause significant damage. It is important that you understand your evacuation zone and plan out the route that you need to take.
Know Your Zone is a public education campaign to inform the citizens and visitors South Carolina of new hurricane evacuation zones and their vulnerability to storm surge. If you know a storm is coming, follow the instructions of your local emergency officials. If they suggest evacuating, get out of harm’s way.
- Is your gas tank full?
Another good thing to remember before you evacuate is to fill up the gas tank before you hit the road. It is very likely that only a limited number of stations will be open and operating along the evacuation routes.
- Do you have backup clean drinking water and food? Do you have backup supply of medication?
During a tropical storm or hurricane, many stores will close and you may even loose power or access to clean drinking water. Make sure you are prepared with clean drinking water, backup medications, and food for yourself and family.
- If you use electricity to run medical equipment (like a nebulizer, oxygen concentrator, or ventilator) or to keep your medication refrigerated, do you know where to go if the power goes out? Do you know where you can go to recharge your batteries? Do you know who you will call if you need help getting there?
It is important to think of everything that your electricity powers. You can always be prepared with a backup power solution through a portable or standby Generac generator.
- Do you have a backup copy of your medical record?
You can ask your doctor to print a copy for you, or save an electronic copy in the cloud or on an external hard drive or enter the information into a smart phone or tablet application.