Incorporate Technology for Hurricane Preparedness
JUNE 7, 2022
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season in the U.S. was the third-most active and costliest Atlantic hurricane season on record, producing 21 named storms and creating more than $80 billion in damages.
Hurricanes produce destructive hazards such as heavy rains, floods, storm surges, high winds and tornadoes. It's important to take basic precautions, but as weather becomes more extreme, it’s essential to have a multiprong risk management strategy. Implementing some of the below precautions may make the difference between your family and home surviving a hurricane or incurring severe damage.
Smartphones Provide Safety and Convenience
Smartphone apps can alert you to dangerous weather events or extreme conditions. The FEMA app, for example, sends local weather, news and advisories based on your location. Smartphones also provide tools to assist with managing claims. If your home is damaged by a hurricane, use your phone to take photos and email claim details to your broker or insurance adjuster.
Solar-Powered Backup Battery
When the power goes out due to a hurricane, homeowners could be without power for a prolonged period of time. A solar-powered backup battery like The BLUETTI Portable Power Station or Tesla’s Powerball + will operate appliances and are compatible with solar panels. When the storm passes, your battery can recharge in the sun and keep you going until power is restored.
Solar-Powered Cooler for Your Food
When homes lose power, food spoilage is inevitable. A rechargeable cooler could help save the cost of replacing food and sustain your family until power is restored. Many solar-powered coolers like GoSun or LionCooler use an AC adapter or 12-volt cord for charging in vehicles, and are compatible with various types of solar panels.
Flood-Proof Windows and Doors
As hurricanes become more severe, they leave incredible amounts of high-standing water in their wakes, thus increasing the chance of flooding. To avoid home flooding, consider flood-proofing your windows and doors. This can be achieved by:
- Replacing current windows with hurricane-proof windows such as those offered from Fenex or MM Engineering which are impact-resistant and can withstand a substantial amount of water pressure.
- Installing hurricane-proof garage doors like those offered by Broten Garage Door or Amarr Wind Pro Storm Rated Garage Doors.
- Installing leakproof doors like those offered from Window World or Florida Lumber. Keep in mind, however, the material from which the home is built must also be leakproof. As the water builds up on the exterior of the home, even small cracks will allow water to enter.
Easy-to-Install Flood Barrier
Flood barriers are devices used to redirect or hold back floodwaters. Flood barriers come in all shapes and sizes. They include everything from sandbags and stackable logs (such as Presray Fast Logs or Flood Panel Super Flood Log) to more robust impact-resistant glass fencing (like that offered from Flood Control International or Newflag Flood Defend) and more compact water activated flood barriers (such as the PIG® Water-Activated Flood Barrier or Hammacher Schlemmer’s Water Activated Flood Barrier). Purchasing easy-to-install flood barriers to contain and divert flood water prior to a hurricane may make the difference between your home surviving the storm or incurring a substantial amount of damage.
If you’re looking to build a home in a hurricane-prone area, a hurricane-resilient home may be the way to go. Do your research when selecting a builder: certain companies specialize in building homes with high-quality materials made to sustain hurricane-strength wind. Deltec Homes, for example, offers options with a round shape to efficiently transfer environmental loads and optimum roof pitch for wind deflection and reduced lift. Katana Houses is another company providing more traditional hurricane-resistant homes.
Homeowners, especially those without basements, are increasingly interested in creating secure rooms in their homes — hardened structures specifically designed to provide near-absolute protection in extreme wind events, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Although difficult to retrofit into an existing home, some families may convert a small bedroom or large closet by installing concrete walls with a slab roof and steel door.
Security straps also can be applied to a small room on all sides to help secure it from extreme weather events. If you are interested in converting a bedroom or closet into a secure room, companies such as Lone Star Safe Rooms and Elephant Safe Room offer prefabricated safe rooms that fit into any garage or closet.