While you may think you can rest easy in Southwest Florida when it isn’t hurricane season, a recent surge in the number of tornadoes proves otherwise. Houses were damaged with high winds, rain, and flying debris just like if it were a named hurricane. The truth is, dangerous storms don’t take a part of the year off, so you, your home, and your family need to make sure you’re protected, every day. You can protect your home from being damaged by a tornado in several ways, many of which are similar to hurricane protection:
Secure Entry Doors
Your doors are some of the most vulnerable parts of your house. That means they are far too likely to pull off the hinges and create an open space for wind, rain, and debris to come into your home if they’re too weak. Make sure this doesn’t happen by ensuring that entry doors have a two-inch deadbolt lock and three hinges, with screws long enough to secure the door and frame to the wall framing.
Fortify Your Garage Door
Another vulnerable area of your home is your garage door. In fact, the National Storm Shelter Association calls garage doors the weakest link in a home. Once the garage door is lost, the house can quickly be completely destroyed. High-speed winds pressurize the house and can blow the roof off. To prevent this from happening to your home, install a vertical bracing system made of sturdy aluminum that serves as a rigid backbone. It will anchor into the wall above the door, into the floor and into each hinge, preventing the door from blowing in or suctioning out. If your garage door is so old and flimsy that this will not protect you, it’s best to purchase a new hurricane-proof garage door that can stand up to the fierce winds.
Protect Important Valuables
Don’t let a storm ruin important documents and precious photographs. Instead of risking water damage or them flying away in strong winds, store your important papers and valuable possessions in a safety deposit box to ensure that you'll be able to access them after a tornado. If you have to evacuate for the storm, you can take the documents with you to a shelter.
Prepare a Room Ahead of Time
Unlike with hurricanes, tornadoes come with very little advanced notice and you won’t have time to run to the store to stock up. While tornado experts recommend going into the basement, that’s not typically a room most Southwest Florida homes are built with. Instead, designate a room in your home with no windows, preferably in the entire of the house and stock it with essential items such as a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, spare batteries, water and ready-to-eat foods you don’t have to cook.
Shutter Your Windows or Install Hurricane Protection Glass
Impact-resistant windows are designed to withstand impact from debris at high speed, whether it’s from a hurricane, tornado, or even a burglar. If you aren’t currently ready or willing to replace all of your home’s windows, you can also install shutters to protect your current windows from hurricanes. Don’t think of these shutters as ugly, aluminum panels; there are a variety of options to choose from. While aluminum shutters are by far the least expensive, if aesthetics are important to you, there are other beautiful options that look more natural, such as Bahama shutters. Other options available include roll down shutters and accordion shutters.
Whether defending against a hurricane or a tornado, impact resistant windows and doors can stand up to it all. Now is the time to get a free consultation and chose the best type of storm protection for you, not when the tornado warning alarm goes off. For more information on your options, download our free eBook The 12 Things you Need to Know about Impact Windows.