Preparing Sheds And Other Small Structures For A Hurricane

Find out how to secure small structures on your property to minimize damage during a hurricane.

Hurricanes can be deadly and destructive storms. They can cause massive amounts of property damage and loss of life if people are not properly prepared. Hurricanes form over warm seawaters near the equator and then move towards the poles. If you live north of the equator they are called hurricanes. South of the equator they are known as cyclones, and if these storms occur near Asia they are commonly referred to as typhoons. Hurricanes produce strong winds and heavy rains. A tropical storm is considered a hurricane once it reaches wind speeds of 74 miles per hour. Some hurricanes have been known to produce damaging winds up to 250 miles per hour. Most hurricane damage occurs along the coastal areas. Once a storm moves over land it will quickly diminish in power, though heavy rains are still likely.

When preparing for a hurricane it is essential that you take care of your family and pets before moving on to anything else. Once you have things ready for any evacuation that may occur, you should then secure your house. Once this is done, you can then move along to any other structures you may have on your property. Sheds, garages, pools, doghouses, playhouses, and any other detached buildings are at risk for severe wind damage.

Small Structure Windows

Any windows should be either covered with hurricane shutters or plywood. Plywood that is at least a half an inch thick is recommended. High winds from hurricanes will easily shatter most glass windows. Don't forget to secure sliding glass doors. A shortened broom handle or block of wood will help secure the doors from moving around and shattering. Also cover this type of door with plywood. French doors and other types of double doors should be reinforced in the center where they meet. Installing deadbolts at the top, center, and bottom will help.



Small Structure Doors

Like windows, doors are susceptible to hurricane damage. Home improvement stores sell hurricane panels that are made to protect doors from high winds. These are usually made of metal or PVC. If you don't have any of these, secure the opening with plywood just as you would for your windows.

Garage Doors

These doors are easily damaged by high winds due to their width and flexibility. Use two by fours to brace your garage doors. Install these boards horizontally and attach the wood directly to the door with an L bracket for extra security.

Sheds, Playhouses, and Doghouses

Many people have sheds in their yards used primarily for storage or play. These are commonly not anchored down on a foundation. These structures can easily be picked up by strong winds and carried away. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you should consider permanently anchoring these items to the ground. If they are not anchored you will need to use heavy rope or cable to secure the structure to the ground. Drive the stakes as deep into the ground as you can. If your doghouse is small enough to be brought inside, bring it into your basement. If your shed or playhouse has windows these must be secured as well.

Pools

If you have a below ground pool, make sure the cover is in place and secure. Use extra tie-downs if necessary. If you have an above ground pool, do not drain out any of the water. The weight of the water will help keep your pool from blowing away in the middle of the storm. It is recommended that you add extra chlorine to your pool before a hurricane strikes to help with any contamination that may occur. Also remember to turn off any power that may be going to your pool for things such as lights, filters, and heaters.

Miscellaneous

It is a good idea to keep your trees properly pruned. Any dead or weak branches can fall and do extreme damage to small structures during a hurricane. Lawn furniture, planters, and any toys should be taken inside. Remove anything from your lawn and garden area that can be picked up by the wind. This is for your safety and the safety of those around you.

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