As a lifelong resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, hurricane preparedness is something we all learn from a young age. My earliest hurricane memory is of Elena in 1985. W hen Katrina struck in 2005, I lost everything in my beachfront apartment. I've since become a homeowner and have faced two major storms, both of which threatened my house.
Preparing for a hurricane requires a bit of forethought. Hurricanes bring in a double threat of both wind and rain, which in turn can lead to flooding. Investing in the appropriate protective measures is a given for any homeowner in a coastal area. Here are six must-haves for your home:
Plywood to cover windows. Boarding up windows with plywood will help block things like pine cones, tree limbs, garbage, and any other kind of projectile that the wind can pick up.
Circular saw. You can't just buy a sheet of plywood and stick it in your window. It will need to be cut down to size, and I learned the hard way that you don't want to do this without power tools.
Outdoor storage (shed, etc.). As a storm approaches you'll need to pick up any loose articles from your yard, but you also need a place to put those things. Proper storage allows you to put items like planters and yard decorations in a safe place without having to bring them inside.
Cleaning supplies and dry towels. In the event that your roof or windows leak during a storm, you'll want plenty of materials on hand to keep the mess from getting worse. One small leak can result in thousands of dollars in repair bills if left unchecked.
Water that's not for drinking. You can never have enough water when a hurricane is coming. In addition to all the bottled water that is used for drinking or cooking, be sure to fill your bathtubs up at night because you may need that water to flush your toilet. We went for several days without running water after Katrina.
Documentation. Nobody wants to think about losing everything they own, but it does happen. It happened to me during Katrina. One thing that people often overlook is collecting the proper documentation for the things they own, especially for insurance purposes. If you are a gun owner, it is essential that you document your firearm serial numbers in case they are lost or stolen. It also helps to have photos of your home's contents in case anything gets blown or washed away. With some insurance companies doing what they can to avoid paying claims, you can't have too much information about your property.