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Rolyn's blog serves as a platform to inform and educate our audience on a wide variety of topics related to the restoration and reconstruction industry.

Bracing for Impact: Hurricane Irma

Blogger of the Week - Thursday, September 07, 2017

 

Last month, Hurricane Harvey brought days of record-setting wind driven rain to southern Texas and western Louisiana. As property restoration efforts are under way, Hurricane Irma closes in on Florida and threatens to wreak similar havoc. However, there are precautions that can be taken to protect items of value, and more importantly, friends, family, and loved ones.

 


 

Shopping for non-perishable food items, water, radios, batteries, gas cans, medical supplies, and flash lights is essential. Although conflicting forecasts can often cause confusion about how many days to shop for, a weeks-worth of supplies is generally appropriate. Online retailers like Amazon can be helpful should local supermarkets be running low on important items.

 

Leaving your home is not the only way to prevent bodily harm when the rain starts to fall. Boarding up windows and placing sandbags near entries to underground floors can prevent glass, water, and other unwanted material from entering buildings. If you can, remain in higher floors as first floors may have an exterior entry to flooded grounds.

However, if local government suggests an evacuation of the area at any point, it is wise to heed these warnings and find shelter in a location outside of the storm’s path. Algorithms that calculate the wind speed, precipitation, and jet stream patterns of a hurricane can provide experts with an estimate of total damage to the area.

If possible, USB power bricks should be charged and ready to provide energy to a phone or Wi-Fi cable device. Even without service, smartphones contain a long list of useful tools (flashlight, clock, notepad, etc.) that can make a big difference in a world otherwise without power. Many phones now feature a “power saving mode” that dims the screen and limits app processor usage to make battery last in such situations. Communication with others through cell towers may temporarily be hindered by the weather event but given time, normal operations will resume. Be sure to record important numbers from mobile contacts elsewhere so they are easily accessible without needing a certain phone.

Vehicles may seem like an obvious choice to power electronics but, due to wind, actually pose a threat when near an occupied structure. Parking garages are the safest, most readily available solutions to this. Securing a spot in advance could prevent damage to your vehicles.

Being resourceful in a hurricane can often save one from heartache. A dry dishwasher with racks removed can act as a safe for jewelry, heirlooms, and documents sealed in a plastic bag. Pets can be tracked via micro-chip. Clean water can be drawn in upper-level tubs and sinks days in advance for multiple purposes. Sterno heat sources can be used for cooking while utilities, like gas, are offline. Creative thinking has helped thousands in the Gulf Coast secure what matters most to them.

 

If you are someone who manages a building, having vulnerabilities assessed by a professional will help in preparing for the wind and rain. Rolyn restoration team members regularly walk properties with facility personnel to advise them on how to best manage potential risks. Sometimes, a fresh pair of experienced eyes can highlight what one person may miss on their own.

Once the property is prepared for the hurricane, photos can serve as an inventory for supplies on-hand. Saving a few snapshots to a cloud service can also serve as detailed proof to an insurance company of what damage was done by the storm.

 

Irma is already one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded — and it's still strengthening. Hurricanes and tropical storms generally present three hazards: wind, rainfall, and storm surge. Taking the appropriate measures and preparing for Irma will help minimize property damage.


 

 

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