Hurricane Irene - or "any" storm for that matter..... I wanted to get the word out on this item.
I slept through Hurricanes as a child, after all my parents were taking care of me & keeping me safe. I found a new respect with them during Andrew & I almost put my child in jeopardy. This is a simple item, but can make a world of difference, & to the best of my knowledge is not on the preparation list. I feel that not just homeowners, but also property managers, or landlords should also be aware of this. This will not help in Earthquakes, but is possibly beneficial in a hurricane or tornado.
This one item is one of the least expensive things you can do & may be critical to your survival inside your home as protection from the elements. I believe it to be"unique" to the preparation list. While it is not at the top of the list, it is right up there at least in the top 10 for me, & possibly one of the greatest investment items you can do to protect the "inside" of your home.
One thing that my parents & I have done after Andrew is all the openings such as pull down stairs or square ceiling panels that have crawl space...put a eye & latch, or some form of latch, to keep them from coming up in a storm...there are various pressures that happen during hurricanes & even in tornadoes..as hurricanes can sometimes contain tornadoes as happened with Hurricane Andrew. Just a very inexpensive thing, but may be will keep the storm from coming below your ceiling if it penetrates your roof.
while there are a million types the one above is one of my choices and run $1-3 usually depending on the heaviness of your choice. there are these though
I just like to keep it simple......
It is a simple item, but I would hate it if anyone didn't think about it and had to experience the hard way, as my parents did, looking up at the sky because their closet crawl space panel didn't have a latch to keep it down. The roof structure was still there but there was an area that the roof peeled away & allowed air to get through & then the panel went up & came back down at a wedge....therefore allowing wind to rip through their bedroom & basically the rest of the house.
****Yes, this also includes pull down stairs...even if they are in the garage!! Every area of your home that you can keep the wind out is one less area of vulnerability, if you remember nothing else.
I started another blog & dismissed it as all the things I learned after Andrew...well I could go on & on. Please DO the list!!! Please add this latch to the list!!!
In this statement, you may not like it it, but I am not saying to alarm anyone okay, but truly you learn by experience & learn the hard way, & I did!! I am thankful that I still have my family & we learned the hard way with a lot of lessons....so I am not saying this except from experience, okay.
The most important thing I will tell you is please DON"T BE STUPID, if they say "EVACUATE", then DO IT!! Or if you have any doubt about the stability of your structure in a CAT 3 or 4 storm then "EVACUATE"!!! I am not kidding & it will be the hardest thing, as you won't want to do it. It will be a beautiful day outside & you will think oh it is nothing, and you will procrastinate & you won't do it... I know, I have been there. I also know if you have never been there, then you do NOT know the difference.
I came in the day before from LAX & it was a beautiful day & didn't know why, but did decide to go through a few preparations that my Mom suggested. I wasn't quite tuned in yet & had recently transferred back home. They were speaking of evacuating & they couldn't at this stage as the turnpike was bumper to bumper for hours "& it was suppose to go NORTH" ... "well it didn't"....
It took me two days to be able to get to them & not know if they were even alive, okay... So, stick together, & if something that big & that bad is "eying you while you are eying them" then get the heck to a shelter.
It is only a few hours in that shelter, but could mean the world (or your life) to your family & save a bunch of trauma for years to come. I put my daughter who was 10 at the time in total jeopardy as I was in an apartment (leasing) no shutters... I will save the rest of the script of emotions. Just try to imagine, not knowing if you are going to make it out alive or not...not worth the "RISK" to anyone & don't wait til the last minute as everyone else will also??
This is the list that I totally had in my mind, (wrong), when I was preparing for Andrew -Items that they stress are important because why?? Well let me show you why, just for a few of them...the rest I think you will get the picture, & you can figure out on your own...
Getting gas -
What I thought I thought I was getting gas because there may not be electricity or they would be closed for a few days w/ employees having to take off or people would need it for their generators...I didn't have a generator.
What was REAL There were no gas pumps, there was barely the resemblance of a gas station.
Getting Cash from the ATM's -
What I thought I thought I was getting gas because there may not be electric, or they would be closed for a few days w/ employees having to take off.
What was REAL The ATMidn't have electric... because it was 5 blocks down the road... & there was barely the resemblance of the bank.
Getting Water -
What I thought I thought I was getting water (& food) because there may not be electric, or stores would be closed for a few days w/ employees having to take off ... & may be there would be no pressure...
What was REAL There wasn't any electric, but the water also became contaminated because they treatment plants couldn't function from damage, no electric & a number of factors.
Okay, I am going to stop the list there, as there is enough drama on TV, & people start to tune out after a while...especially if they haven't ever had it happen to them. ( they just go yeah, yeah)
I prey she goes out to sea & no one has to have the blow.
I am blogging this because I just don't want there to be anything left off the list if it can help someone, & this one little item I think is over looked a lot of times.
I don't even know if the insurance inspectors really take a look & suggest it. They do the garage braces & windows, etc. There is a reason though I promise.
My parents home was a well built fortress that sat on 2 acres (it was confiscated from a criminal who spared no expense) ...it was not exempt from Andrew. The items they have added are for a reason. It may only happen once in your lifetime, but it only takes once. If you don't want to do it, well fine, just take your family & yourself somewhere safe, as anything above a Cat 2...meaning Cat 3 or Cat 4 bears a lot of concern & this is coming from someone that slept through them as a child...(another reason I didn't take it any more seriously, but we hadn't had one like Andrew) It only takes one Andrew, Katrina or a number of others historic storms. Even in the smaller ones, you would benefit from this latch, as well as if you are in a tornado zone, as you don't want air coming in too much either.
Wishing everyone well...sorry it is long, but preparation is important & I was naive at 34... I can never look at a storm again in the same way. Even the Cat 1 & Cat 2's I keep one eye open. As they are eying us I am eying them. In fact the stress in my home, & my parents, is amazing when as storm like this is as close as it is...but you get through it. Sometimes we have to turn off the TV & only look when it is time for the NOAA updates..... Be safe & wanting everyone to come out well.