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This homeowner's checklist will help you learn what you can do in advance to protect your home from wind and flood damage. For more information about the costs and benefits of each approach, talk to a professional builder, architect or contractor. 

Is the roof sheathing properly installed?
During a hurricane, wind forces are carried from the roof down to the exterior walls, down to the
foundation. Homes can be damaged when wind forces are not properly transferred to the ground. Roof sheathing (the boards or plywood nailed to the roof rafters or trusses) can fail during a hurricane if not properly installed. Examine the sheathing from the attic. If many of the nails have missed the rafters, you may need to re-nail the sheathing. If you're putting on a new roof, make sure the sheathing complies with current recommended practices. 

Are end gables securely fastened to the rest of the roof?
In a hurricane or other windstorm, the side walls of the roof (end gables) take a real beating and can collapse. Gable bracing often consists of 2x4 - inch boards placed in an "X" pattern at both ends of the attic - from the top center of the end gable to the bottom of the brace of the fourth truss, and from the bottom center of the end gable to the peak of the roof. 

Is the roof fastened to the walls with hurricane straps?
Hurricane straps (made of galvanized metal) help keep the roof fastened to the walls in high winds. They can be difficult to install, so you may need a contractor for this project. 

Are double entry doors secured at the top and bottom?
The exterior walls, doors and windows are the protective shell of your home. If the shell is broken during a storm, high winds can enter the home and put pressure on the roof and walls, causing serious damage. For each double door, at least one of the doors should be secured at both the top of the door frame and the floor with sturdy sliding bolts. Most bolts that come with double doors, however, are not strong enough to withstand high winds. Your local hardware
can help you select the proper bolts. Some door manufacturers provide reinforcing bolt kits made specifically for their doors. 

Has the garage door been properly secured?
If the garage door fails, winds can enter your home and blow out doors, windows, walls and the roof. 

Are windows protected by storm shutters?
Installing storm shutters is one of the most effective ways to protect your home. Purchase or make shutters for all exposed windows, French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights. There are many types of manufactured storm shutters available made of wood, aluminum or steel. You can also make storm shutters with 5/8 inch-thick, exterior-grade plywood. 

Is the main electric panel board located above potential flood waters?
The main electric panel board (electric fuses or circuit breakers) should be at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation for your home. The panel board height is regulated by code. All electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician. 

Are electric outlets and switches located above potential flood waters?
Consider elevating all electric outlets, switches, light sockets, baseboard heaters and wiring at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation for your home. You may also want to elevate electric service lines (at the point they enter your home) at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation. In areas that could get wet, connect all receptacles to a ground fault interrupter (GFI) circuit to avoid the risk of electric shock. Have electrical wiring done by a licensed electrician.

Are the washer and dryer above potential flood waters?
For protection against shallow flood waters, the washer and dryer can sometimes be
elevated on masonry or pressure-treated lumber at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation. Other options are moving the washer and dryer to a higher floor, or building a floodwall around the appliances. 

Are the furnace and water heater above potential flood waters?
The furnace and water heater can be placed on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation, moved to inside a floodwall or moved to a higher floor. You have more options for protecting a new furnace. Ask your utility company about rebates for new energy efficient furnaces. The rebate plus the savings in fuel costs could make the purchase feasible. Furnaces that operate horizontally can be suspended from ceiling joists if the joists are strong enough to hold the weight. Installing a draft-down furnace in the attic may be an option if allowed by local codes. Some heating vents can be located above the projected flood elevation. Outside air conditioning compressors, heat pumps or package units (single units that include a furnace and air conditioner) can be placed on a base of masonry, concrete or pressure-treated lumber. All work must conform to state and local building codes. 

Is the fuel tank anchored securely?
A fuel tank can tip over or float in a flood, causing fuel to spill or catch fire. Cleaning up a house that has been inundated with flood waters containing fuel oil can be extremely difficult and costly. Fuel tanks should be securely anchored to the floor. Make sure vents and fill-line openings are above projected flood levels. Propane tanks are the property of the propane company. You'll need written permission to anchor them. Be sure all work conforms to state and local building codes. 

Does the floor drain have a float plug?
Install a floating floor drain plug at the current drain location. If the floor drain pipe backs up, the float will rise and plug the drain.

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