10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Hurricane Damage
Canada’s hurricane season spans June to November. In recent years, the southern and eastern coasts of North America have seen more hurricane activity. With three storms hitting hurricane status already in 2018, with warm ocean temperatures, it’s predicted September will be the most conducive to hurricane formation.
Hurricanes are areas of intense low pressure that form over warm ocean waters. During a hurricane, winds can exceed 250 km/hour and rainfall can amount to 25–50 mm/hr. While coastal areas face the greatest risks, in-land areas are also at risk of flooding from torrential rains and tornadoes spawned by a hurricane.
How to Prepare for a Hurricane
Here are 10 ways you can minimize a hurricane’s impact on your property, whether you’re a commercial property owner, property manager or homeowner. When preparing for a hurricane, it’s essential to consider all the dangerous weather conditions a hurricane can bring.
- Board up your windows. Broken windows leave your property exposed to wind, rain and flying objects. Plywood is an extremely effective and relatively inexpensive way to protect your windows against hurricane-force winds. Other options: storm shutters and impact-resistant windows.
- Secure loose outdoor objects. Any unsecured item can become a deadly projectile in high winds—garbage bins, potted plants, lawn furniture, gardening equipment, toys. Move these indoors, or tie them down, to avoid injury to people, or damage to your property or your neighbours’.
- Check your roof. Cracks or leaks in a roof can lead to water damage during a hurricane. Loose shingles can also become projectiles.
- Trim your trees. Falling trees pose a risk to both your property and neighbouring properties. Reduce this risk by removing any dead trees or branches now.
- Protect your property against flooding. If your area is vulnerable to storm surges or overflowing rivers, this step is especially important. Sandbags piled at least half a metre high form a protective barrier against floodwaters.
- Install surge protectors. Hurricanes often cause power outages, followed by power surges when electricity is restored. Surge protectors help protect your electronic devices from voltage spikes caused by power surges.
- Back up electronic devices. This step is critical for businesses. Data should be stored off-site, in case physical computers or devices are damaged or inaccessible due to a hurricane.
- Create an inventory of your property. Knowing exactly what items are in your home or business is vital when filing an insurance claim. In addition to making a written list of contents, you can take photos or videos, or use an inventory app.
- Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. Check your policy to make sure you’re covered for damage caused by rain or wind. This generally includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage when water enters through openings caused by high winds.
- Stay informed. When a hurricane develops, landfall can often be predicted 24–48 hours in advance—providing a window of time for last-minute preparations, and if necessary, evacuation.
Environment Canada issues public weather alerts and the Canadian Hurricane Centre provides an online map of storms tracked: weather.gc.ca/hurricane/index_e.html. Across the Unites States, Accuweather tracks hurricane coastal threats: accuweather.com/en/hurricane.
As with any emergency, being prepared is the best way to lower your risk of property damage. If you live in a coastal area, or immediately in-land, now is the time to start preparing—before peak hurricane season arrives.