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Storm Preparedness: Securing Outside Your Home

Sep 17, 2008
There's a powerful storm coming your way. You've got some major securing to do. The inside of your home has already been secured, including supplies, food and water. Now you've got to secure the outside of your home. We'll go from most important to least important.

Consider the largest items outside. These are the ones with no cover at all. Cars , boats, ATVs, lawn and toy furniture--so many things. Move all vehicles, including all items of similar size, to at least 30 feet from the house. Put your vehicles in gear and engage the hand break. Boats should have their biminis or sails taken down and loose items on deck taken below. ATVs, outside appliances and yard maintenance machines should be tied down. Uh-huh. You heard right. Find a lot of rope. This includes lawn furniture and large toy contraptions. Get a sharp knife to quickly cut the lengths you need. Tie these things together, when possible, and then tie them to the house. Sounds freaky. But you've got to if it's a very strong storm. Make sure there's no give on the rope for everything you tie down. And let me tell you, I didn't know how to tie strong knots until this. You've gotta learn what you've gotta learn. Make it happen.

Some tips here. If it's a very severe storm, leave the littlest crack on one window of each of your vehicles. Check again and ensure that all motorized vehicles, including ATVs, are left in gear and their breaks engaged. Plug the drain for your boat and fill it to halfway with water. Do the same for other large items that are also able to hold water. This will keep their "feet" on the ground and prevent them from being rolled over. Tables should be turned upside down and chairs piled on top of them. What you're doing is creating bulk and weight wherever you can. This will help to keep them on the ground.

All things hanging have got to be taken down. Plants in pots, decorations, art or anything that is not already secured to an immobile structure. This includes canopies and tarps. Any and all loose items you may have straggling around. Smaller toys, all types of gear, tools, especially the sharp ones. Barbeque grills, whatever. If you can move it, so can the storm. Piles of wood left where they are? Piles of anything that can become airborne need your attention. You so don't want flying projectiles. Secure them all and then, only then can you relax. But, wait! The garden!

Most amateur horticulturalists will surely consider their gardens to be more important than anything else outside the house. But, honestly, when it comes to danger, a hard "anything" will hurt more than a flying plant (well, probably not a cactus). If the plant is in a pot that stands higher than two feet, lay it on the ground on its side. If the plants are on stilts or on pedestals, take them down. Put all of these close together.

Drape some sort of netting over them. Nets allow wind to pass through them but will also hold whatever's under them fairly in place. Tuna nets are a personal favorite. Sections can be cut out of a roll to accommodate every plot of garden that you've got. Try it. If you don't secure them, you'll have to bring them indoors. Otherwise, they may be gone when it's all over. You'll have to decide what you're willing to let go.

Keep in mind that the trimming of large trees takes some consideration. If you've got large trees around your home, and you love your trees, you've got to trim them down. At the very least, remove dead and dying branches. Then immediately get them off the property. These are large flying projectiles waiting to happen. Don't risk it.

In the midst of a strong storm, when it's bedlam outside, you really don't want to have to go out there to tie down something you hear being bashed around and breaking into things. Plan ahead. Give yourself time to do these things before the storm arrives.

It's kind of funny when you think about the whole thing. In the process of securing outside your home, you're actually cleaning up all around the house. Think about it. You're removing everything that can fly that isn't necessary for your livelihood. Whatever's been in queue for months will likely get tossed. All the things lying around will disappear. It's nearly immaculate.

Now you could choose not to remove or secure all of these loose items. You could. Just keep in mind that the storm will probably disperse it all for you, whether you like it or not. Many things that are unsecured you'll likely never see again. When you do a good job and secure well, you'll be secure and without concern the entire time. That's the best and safest way to endure a storm. Worry free.
About the Author
Len Q. is a master blade sharpener. If you would like to learn more about Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them Sharpening Other Edges (i.e. Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Gardening Tools, Axes) Find it at http://www.MakeKnivesSharp.com
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