A large percentage of the United States is prone to hurricane damage, from the Gulf Coast right up to the entire East Coast. So there's a good chance that your vacation home is in the hurricane season danger zone. In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information, from 1981 to 2010, the United States saw an average of 12 tropical storms and six hurricanes, two of those hurricanes ranking as “major” storm events.
It's important that your property manager has all of the supplies and equipment required to prepare and make emergency repairs in the event that your vacation home is in the path of a major storm this Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30 of every year.
What Should My Property Manager Do to Prepare for Hurricane Season?
While the chances of getting hit by a major storm are relatively low in any given location, it just takes one weather event to destroy your property. What's more, once a storm is imminent, the necessary materials become virtually impossible to find. So preparation is absolutely essential.
On your next trip to your vacation home, consider stocking some essential supplies to ensure your property manager has everything that he or she needs to keep your home protected during a tropical storm or hurricane event.
Storm shutters. Storm shutters are an essential investment for property owners who live in hurricane-prone regions such as Florida, the Georgia coast, and the coastal regions of the Carolinas. The most affordable storm shutters can be installed as panels, which bolt onto frames that are installed on the top and bottom edge of windows and doors. The frames must be installed in advance, but the shutters can be stowed in the garage or attic and installed in a matter of hours if a hurricane is imminent. There are also remotely operated storm shutters that can deploy in moments with the hit of a button.
Storm shutters are far more effective than plywood, and they protect your windows and glass doors from flying debris. They can also prevent significant wind and water damage to your home's interior. The wind can ultimately lead to catastrophic damage if the wind gains access to the home's interior via a broken door or window.
Sand bags. If you have a coastal home, it's important to keep a supply of unfilled sand bags, which can become very hard to find once a storm is imminent. The actual sand is typically fairly easy to find, even when a hurricane is headed in your direction. Sandbags can be used to divert water away from doors and other vulnerable areas of your home.
Plywood sheets. Plywood sheets are good for more than covering windows and doors. They're also vital for performing emergency repairs in the event your roof is damaged. Roof damage is one of the most common forms of serious damage and the most effective way to limit damage is to cover the damaged area as soon as possible. So you should purchase at least six to 10 plywood sheets, which can be stowed in the garage or shed. You should also ensure you have a handsaw on hand. Handsaws are ideal because power saws cannot be operated during a power outage, which is common following a storm. Battery-powered saws lose power in fairly short order.
Large tarps. Purchase at least two large, heavy-duty tarps. You should have enough tarp to cover your entire roof in the event of serious damage, which can be made even worse if you are unable to cover the hole and the home's interior is exposed to the elements.
Nail gun, staple gun, and supplies. Your property manager will need tools to affix tarps, shingles, and plywood boards. So purchase a nail gun, staple gun, and nails and staple supplies. Manually-operated models are best because power tools or tools requiring an air compressor cannot be operated during a power outage.
Extra shingles. Purchase some extra shingles that match your existing roofing. Notify your property manager of the location where you stow these shingles because even a summer thunderstorm can feature wind gusts that are sufficient to tear off shingles. Missing shingles can lead to water damage that can be extremely costly to repair.
Additionally, if you live in a storm-prone region like Florida, you may opt to invest in additional preparation efforts, such as installing special hurricane straps to reinforce your roof structure. It's also wise to have at least one gallon of water per person, per day for one week, along with enough food to last a week. Typically, your guests will leave prior to a storm, but there could be a situation in which a guest is unable to leave, so you want to ensure there are supplies on hand in the event of an emergency.
Your property manager can be a vital ally when it comes to preparing your home for a hurricane or another serious storm, especially when you only have a few days' warning for most serious storms. But once a storm is imminent, these vital supplies can be impossible to find, so it's essential that you have everything you need to maximize your home's chances of surviving.
A property manager can also play a vital role by capturing video documentation before the storm strikes. This can be important for insurance purposes, as it proves the condition of the home prior to the storm. You should also capture video footage of the home's interior and exterior after you have installed storm shutters and sandbags, as this will prove you prepared and protected your home.
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Image: Flickr CC user Forsaken Fotos