June 7, 2016 | Home Care

Be prepared this hurricane season and take the necessary steps to protect your home.

As you may know Hurricane season extends from the beginning of June through the end of November each year and we strongly urge you to begin your preparations now for your home for this year’s hurricane season.

Hurricane Preparedness:  There are a number of credible websites dedicated to hurricane preparedness.  We would suggest that you visit and review the NOAA website (www.noaa.gov) for information concerning hurricane preparedness.  Here are but a few of the recommendations from that website:

Evacuate Early. Know if you live in an evacuation area. The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in a zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.

Assemble disaster supplies.  You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of one week. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. Many of us have cell phones, and they all run on batteries. You’re going to need a portable, crank or solar powered USB charger.

Maintain a “Contacts” List.  You should create and keep a contacts list with you at all times.  Some of the numbers that you might want on the list are family members, friends, medical service providers, insurance agent, local, state and federal governmental agencies, and the like.

If You Do Not Evacuate. If you plan to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Many of these retrofits do not cost much or take as long to do as you may think. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.

Please remember that your home is not “generator ready.”  Backfeeding your home directly from a generator to the electrical panel is extremely dangerous and will void your electrical warranty.  Follow all generator manufacturer recommendations.  Use extension cords and run them directly from the generator to the appliance or other device.  Never use a generator inside a home or without adequate ventilation.  While there is no guarantee that cellular reception will not be interrupted, your cell phone may work during times when regular phone service is out, just remember to have it fully charged with a possible backup battery.

Preparing Your Home and Valuables

You can help reduce financial loss and property damage by proper advance planning.

Preparing Your Home and Property.  While no amount of preparation can prevent damage from a severe storm, you should consider taking a number of steps to prepare  your home and secure your personal property in advance of evacuating; please refer to your Lennar Limited Warranty for more details. 

Door Thresholds.  During previous seasons’ hurricanes, a number of homeowners noted water blowing under the door thresholds.  The thresholds can be raised or lowered by using a Phillips head screwdriver.  It is almost impossible to prevent hurricane or tropical force winds from driving rain under doors that are directly exposed to the weather.  Consider using something to block the water when severe weather threatens.  Some residents have created sandbags by using plastic grocery bags filled with sand and have placed these along exterior threshold of the doors.  Be careful not to exert pressure on the door thereby forcing it inward.  It is imperative that the door be closed tight against the weather-stripping.

Cementitious Finish Cracks.  Review the exterior of your home for cracks to the cementious finish.  The driving winds and rains will find their way into your home if these areas are not addressed.  Cementious finish crack maintenance is a homeowner maintenance item and should be addressed by using an elastomeric patch compound called “Conseal.”  Conseal, or the latest approved equal, and exterior window caulking are both available from a Sherwin-Williams paint store.  The repair areas should be painted with  your exterior touch up paint.

Windows.  Check all caulked areas, especially the perimeter of your windows and doors.  As indicated earlier, hard driven rain will find its way into the smallest voids.  While there are several excellent products that will meet this need, it is recommended that a silicone base paintable caulk be used.  Hurricane force winds can also cause water to enter around the window tracks.  This is not a defective condition, but is instead a relief mechanism designed to help prevent a window from shattering.  Placing towels on the sills may help control the water from spreading to surrounding areas.

Hurricane Shutters.  If your home is equipped with or for hurricane shutters, we suggest that you plan for rapid installation of those shutters as there is typically much to do when a hurricane draws near.  Consider taking time now to ensure you have all of the appropriate tools for proper installation of your shutters and know how to install them.  Some people even use this time to do “trial run” installations with their hurricane shutters while time is on their side.  If your home is not equipped with or for hurricane shutters, make sure you have other window protection (e.g. plywood) and know how to install it.

Other Actions.  You should also consider moving furniture to the highest point in your home, stacking furniture on water-resistant materials, and taking all other appropriate steps to make your home more resistant to water intrusion.  You should also move inside or properly secure all exterior items that might be blown around in a heavy wind.  Even resin lawn chairs, bird feeders and garden hoses can blow away or become dangerous missiles during hurricane or tropical storm conditions. 

Document and Secure Your Home, Property and Valuables.  Make written, photographic and video inventories of your home and all of its contents, property and other valuables that you own.  Take the inventory documentation with you if you evacuate, or otherwise make sure the documentation is stored in a safe, weather-proof location (e.g. bank safety deposit box).  Back up and take all information on your computer’s hard drive.  Ensure that irreplaceable items and documents are pre-packed for evacuation or otherwise safely stored.  For example, consider packing and taking insurance cards and policies, jewelry, art, family photos, birth certificates, passports, medical histories, receipts of purchases, and other important financial documents, property and keepsakes.

Insurance.  Many policies do not cover losses from floods, surface water damage or wind or water damage associated with hurricanes. 

Review Your Insurance Policies.  Carefully review your insurance policies to determine what is and what is not covered. 

Call Your Insurance Agent.  Insurance policies can be difficult to read or understand.  If in doubt about the scope or amount of coverage, contact your insurance agent.

Inventories.  Insurance consultants suggest that we maintain and periodically update written, photographic and video inventories of our home, personal property and other possessions, and also retain all receipts showing purchases of items.  If you have not already taken this step, we recommend that you do so. 

Information Sources.  All homeowners should familiarize themselves with available information in preparation for the hurricane season.  As always, please also abide by all emergency-planning procedures articulated by local, state and federal authorities and the weather bureaus and, of course, promptly heed all evacuation directives.   In addition to the NOAA website set out above, homeowners may find the following websites useful in preparing for hurricane season:

Home Preparation:

FEMA – Avoiding Hurricane Damage

FEMA – Avoiding Flood Damage

General Hurricane Preparedness:

Hurricane Preparedness

FEMA – Surviving the Storm

American Red Cross – Hurricane Safety

CDC – Hurricane Preparedness and Response

Lennar’s Preparation.  We at Lennar want you to know that we will also be doing our very best to secure our jobsites and homes under construction.  In addition to taking some of the same common sense actions as noted above, we have a plan for jobsite  preparation and cleanup operations.  Our goal is to make every one of our jobsites as safe and prepared as reasonably practicable – so please understand that tropical storms and hurricanes can and will result in uncontrollable damages.

Be Safe.  Thank you again for purchasing a home from the Lennar.  With the extended hurricane season ahead of us, we hope that you will be well-prepared so that your family will come through the season safely.

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