Preparing for Katrina - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/25/05

Preparing for Katrina

The Chatham Emergency Management Agency is watching Hurricane Katrina very closely. CEMA is tracking the storm's path toward south Florida. So far, that could mean heavy rain and strong winds for our area. CEMA officials say now is the time to make sure your home is ready.

"Protect your personal possessions," said CEMA's Clayton Scott. "Make sure they're in a waterproof area. Make sure your yard is clear of debris and your lawn furniture is picked up or you can pick it up. At this stage of the game, there's no call for any serious reaction other than just precautions."

Most likely, Hurricane Katrina will have to travel over land before we feel any of her effects. We'll probably see strong winds and rain. While that's not a call for an evacuation, now is the time to protect one of your most valuable assets.

WTOC talked with an expert about what kind of preparations we should be making. Andre Johnkins of Home Depot says take some time to walk around your home, and it will help you spot those hidden, and not so hidden, dangers that could cause big problems, even in a minor storm.

Some of the biggest dangers to your home could be right in your own yard. Strong winds and heavy rain could turn everyday items into serious hazards.

In addition to your hurricane supplies, Johnkins has plenty of tips for homeowners. "If they have a shed or anything that could be blown away by a hurricane that they strap it down," he advised. "Make sure anything loose in the yard is tied down or stored away."

That includes lawn ornaments, potted plants, and your outdoor furniture. Umbrellas are a great way to keep off the sun or the rain, but they can be a serious danger when left outside in a storm.

While you're checking around your house for items to move inside, check the seals around your windows and doors. You'll want to look for a nice tight seal. If it's not, a little caulking now could save you a lot of water damage later.

Here's something else you don't want coming through your windows or roof. Take a close look at your trees.

"If you have old trees in your yard, make sure the branches are cut," said Johnkins. "Any of them that can protrude into the house or power lines, you want to cut those down. Your house is your most prized possession and you definitely want to protect it."

Hurricane experts say if you don't have a plan in place, now's a good time to come up with one.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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