SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - You've got your hurricane kit, you know your evacuation route, and now it's time do what so many of us put off: strengthening your home.
So many of us, including myself, had trees blown down, damaging property, and while the First Alert Weather Team can predict winds, we can't predict whether trees will come down.
You may be the best lawn mower, but let's face it, things like gutter cleaning and tree trimming are another level of property maintenance in that you may need an expert's help. Do it sooner than later. I wanted two backyard trees trimmed ever since Hurricane Matthew; however, I didn't take action until we were in the "cone of uncertainty" with Hurricane Irma. By that time, I was limited in my tree service options and probably paid more than I would have out of a storm.
If there's a questionable/unstable tree in the vicinity of your house but you believe it's city or county managed, call them for maintenance and document it through pictures and phone logs.
Are you going to board up your windows? Talk to a builder or expert at a home improvement store to make sure you do the least damage to your door and window frames etc.
Here's a biggie: securing your garage door, the largest and weakest opening in your house. It is the area of your home most likely to fail first. Check your garage door for a sticker that a pressure rating on it; there's no guarantee you'll have one as pressure ratings are "fairly" new since 1992 and Hurricane Andrew. Many older homes in Savannah do not have said sticker, so perhaps it's time to get a whole new door? I know it's a big cost, but let me break down NEGATIVE PRESSURE: If strong winds blow it in or out during a storm, storm damage experts say it could lead to a buildup of internal pressure that could cause a blowout of the roof and supporting walls.
"The primary problem resulting from a garage door that is sucked out or blown in is the internal house pressure," said Robert C. Stroh, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Design, Construction and Planning at the University of Florida in Gainesville. "The 'negative pressure' creates a vacuum on the roof. When the garage lets go, it increases the amount of uplift, much like blowing up a balloon."
The last big point of strengthening your home is securing loose outdoor items. Whether it's moving patio furniture to the garage or weighing down the trampoline, those items can and have in the past become projectiles to your house and your neighbor's houses.