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Hurricane Preparedness: How to Ready Your Yard

As hurricane season approaches, it’s essential to take steps to prepare your yard for potential storms. Hurricanes can cause significant damage to your property, and taking preventative measures can minimize risks and protect your home. Here’s a comprehensive guide to hurricane preparedness for your yard.

1. Evaluate and Trim Trees and Shrubs

Why It's Important

High winds can cause branches to break and trees to fall, which can damage your home and power lines.

What to Do

  • Trim branches: Remove dead or weak branches, especially those near your house or power lines.

  • Assess tree health: Consider removing trees that are diseased or have shallow root systems, as they are more likely to topple during a storm.

2. Secure Outdoor Furniture and Decorations

Why It's Important

Loose items can become dangerous projectiles in high winds.

What to Do

  • Store items: Move patio furniture, grills, and decorations into a garage or shed.

  • Anchor large items: Secure larger items that cannot be moved, such as swing sets or play equipment, with anchors or straps.

3. Clean and Clear Gutters and Drains

Why It's Important

Blocked gutters and drains can lead to water buildup and potential flooding.

What to Do

  • Clean regularly: Ensure gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves and debris.

  • Check drainage: Make sure water flows away from your home to prevent flooding.

4. Inspect and Secure Fences

Why It's Important

A damaged fence can pose a threat to your property and your neighbor's.

What to Do

  • Check stability: Inspect fence posts and panels for stability.

  • Reinforce weak spots: Repair or reinforce any weak or damaged sections to withstand high winds.

5. Safeguard Windows and Doors

Why It's Important

Windows and doors are vulnerable points during a hurricane.

What to Do

  • Install shutters: Consider installing storm shutters for added protection.

  • Secure doors: Ensure doors, especially garage doors, are reinforced and can withstand strong winds.

6. Prepare for Flooding

Why It's Important

Heavy rains can cause flooding, which can damage your home and yard.

What to Do

  • Sandbags: Keep sandbags on hand to place around doors and low-lying areas.

  • Elevate equipment: Raise outdoor equipment, such as air conditioning units, to higher ground if possible.

7. Plan for Debris Removal

Why It's Important

Post-storm debris can obstruct roads and pose safety hazards.

What to Do

  • Have tools ready: Ensure you have the necessary tools, such as chainsaws and gloves, for debris removal. You can also contact OnSiteTree in the event you did not have your trees trimmed prior to the storm.

  • Know disposal options: Familiarize yourself with local debris disposal options and guidelines.

8. Review Emergency Plans

Why It's Important

Having a clear plan ensures everyone knows what to do before, during, and after a storm.

What to Do

  • Family plan: Develop a family emergency plan that includes evacuation routes and contact information.

  • Stay informed: Keep up with weather forecasts and have a way to receive emergency alerts, such as a weather radio.

9. Check Insurance Coverage

Why It's Important

Proper insurance can help cover the cost of repairs and replacements after a storm.

What to Do

  • Review policies: Check that your homeowner’s insurance covers hurricane damage and understand your policy’s terms.

  • Document belongings: Take photos or videos of your property and valuables for insurance claims.

10. Create a Supply Kit

Why It's Important

Having essential supplies on hand can help you cope during and after a hurricane.

What to Include

  • Water and food: Stock up on non-perishable food and bottled water.

  • First aid kit: Ensure you have medical supplies and prescription medications.

  • Tools and materials: Have basic tools, flashlights, batteries, and tarps ready for emergency repairs.

By taking these steps to prepare your yard for a hurricane, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage to your property and ensure the safety of your home and family. Remember, the key to effective hurricane preparedness is early action and thorough planning. Stay safe this hurricane season!

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