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Front Page - Friday, June 23, 2017

Prepare home now for storm season

Stormy weather season is upon the Chattanooga area, making this a good time to get a jump on things and prepare your home for any extreme weather that might come.

Regardless of the weather, you’ll head into summer having finished some home maintenance that you’d want to have done anyway if you follow these tips. And in case there is a storm, you’ll have what you need to batten down your house and be ready for contingencies.

First, inspect your rain gutters and downspouts. Make sure they are well secured to the house and clear of leaves and other obstructions. Check that trees are trimmed. Remove damaged limbs and trees to prevent them being blown off and causing damage during a storm.

Protect your windows and any glass in doors. Reinforcing exterior glass against extremely high winds or an actual tornado isn’t primarily to prevent shards of broken glass from spewing into the home. The far more serious danger is that once wind or flying debris breaks a window or takes off a door, the sudden change in pressure inside the house could blow the roof off or cause other major damage.

Commercial storm shutters or 5/8-inch plywood properly secured over all exterior glass is your best bet to keep out the wind. Storm shutters come in a variety of materials and looks, including transparent ones that protect windows while leaving a view.

If you choose plywood, secure it using long screws and the proper anchors for your wall material. Or, better yet, if your windows are inset a couple of inches, install the plywood inside the frame – the inset makes it harder for wind to get under the wood and blow it off – and secure it with barrel bolts that slide into holes drilled into the side of the inset.

Keep a battery-operated radio and extra batteries – or even a hand-crank radio so that you can follow weather reports and alerts. A battery-operated charger for your cell phone can also keep you in communication if you lose electric power.

Learn about your area’s evacuation routes and have a plan for a place to stay if you need to evacuate. Make a plan for what you’ll do with your pets. Create a “go bag” with necessary medications, a first-aid kit, maps and copies of important papers.

For more information on preparing your home for storm season, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.hbagc.net.