Are You Ready For The Next Disaster: Make Your Property More Flood And Wind Resistant

Main Content
Release date: 
May 30, 2009
Release Number: 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Hurricane season and the potential for considerable wind and flood damage begins in earnest June 1, so do not wait to make your home more hazard resistant.

It's important to begin with a plan. Walk around your home or business and take note of possible causes of damage or vulnerability. Contact your local emergency manager to find out about the 100-year flood levels and where you are in the floodplain.

Here are some tips from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s Mitigation experts.

Protect your home against flood damage

  • Raise Electrical Boxes, Major Appliances, and HVAC components at least one-foot above the 100-year flood level.

    • Circuit Breaker Boxes - Short circuits in flooded systems pose a significant fire danger. The likelihood of a flooded electrical system can be reduced by raising all electrical components.

    • Appliances - Washers and dryers can be elevated with pressure-treated lumber, or moved to a higher floor; and

    • HVAC - Exterior HVAC equipment should be elevated by a professional contractor.

  • Anchor fuel tanks - When floodwaters move an unanchored tank, the supply line may tear. Additionally, filling and ventilation tubes need to be above flood level so that water cannot get inside the tank. Anchor inside and outside tanks with properly sized ground anchors. For safety's sake, consult local officials and building professionals about the best methods for anchoring fuel tanks.

  • Install sewer backflow valves - Flooding can cause sewer lines to back up into houses through drainpipes. Backflow valves are designed to block drainpipes temporarily and prevent flow into the house. Have a licensed plumber or contractor install the valves.

Reinforce Vulnerable Areas to Minimize Wind Damage

  • Strengthen Entry Doors and Windows - Install storm shutters over all exposed windows and glass surfaces. If replacing an entry door, use an approved, impact-tested door and install a dead bolt lock long enough to penetrate the 2X4 framing of the door. Also ensure the strike plate is installed with screws long enough to penetrate the door frame.

  • Brace garage doors - A garage door can be reinforced by adding braces across the back of the door and by strengthening the glider wheel tracks. If you are building a home, consider purchasing a garage door built to withstand high winds.

  • Gable End Walls - Anchor and brace the bottom of the gable end's triangular wall to the ceiling joists or ceiling framing. Strengthen the gable end wall studs and brace the top of the gable end wall by tying it to the rafters or tops of the trusses.

  • Keep Outdoor Gear from Becoming Windborne Missiles - Securely anchor all storage sheds and other outbuildings, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors. Bolt outdoor furniture and barbecue grills to decks or patios, or attach them to ground anchors with cables or chains. Secure trash cans with cables or chains attached to ground anchors or to wood posts firmly embedded in the ground.

  • Trees and Landscaping Tips - Proper care of trees can also prevent storm damage. Plant trees at the correct depth by making sure the roots are at the soil surface. Trees planted too deep could snap off at the stem-girdled point during forceful winds. Avoid wounding trees by banging them with a lawn mower or cutting them with a weed trimmer. Wounds lead to decay, a condition that leads to storm-d...
Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
Back to Top