Living in a mobile home can be a cost-effective and convenient option, but it also comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to protecting your home during a hurricane. Here are some tips on how to hurricane proof your mobile home and keep your family safe.
- Anchor Your Home to the Ground
Mobile homes are usually highly susceptible to wind damage, especially if they are older, and haven’t been reinforced properly. One of the most important steps in hurricane proofing your home is anchoring it to the ground to make sure the foundation is strongly held down in place through any weather. This involves installing ‘anchors’ at each corner of your home and along every 10 to 15 feet along the perimeter, and securing them to concrete blocks or other sturdy objects. Choose the right anchoring system, locate the tie-down parts, dig the holes, install the anchors, attach the tie-downs and tighten them. Make sure that a professional inspects your anchors periodically to ensure they are still secure.
- Reinforce Your Roof
The roof of your mobile home is one of the most vulnerable parts during a hurricane, so it’s important to reinforce it to reduce the risk of damage. Consider adding roof bracing, or installing a metal roof, which is more resistant to wind damage. Reinforce the roof trusses, secure the roof decking, install hurricane straps, reinforce the roof to wall connections, and secure (or remove) any mounted roof equipment like an antennae! Also, consider installing impact-resistant roofing materials, such as metal, tile, or reinforced asphalt shingles, to reduce the risk of roof damage during a hurricane.
- Install Hurricane-Proof Windows
Windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of a mobile home during a hurricane, as they can easily break or be forced in by strong winds. Consider installing hurricane-proof windows, which are made from impact-resistant materials and can help reduce the risk of damage. Choose the right type of windows, they are usually labeled ‘hurricane-resistant, or ‘impact-resistant’. Measure your existing windows and make provisions to install these hurricane-resistant windows instead. Make sure you read all the instructions from the manufacturer and that you seal the windows well when you install them. Reinforce the window frames as a last resort option, especially if you are going to be hit with a higher level hurricane.
- Secure Your Doors
Doors are also vulnerable during a hurricane, so it’s important to secure them to prevent them from being forced in by strong winds. You can find ‘hurricane-resistant’ doors as well, and install them according to the instructions. Always make sure that you reinforce the hinges of your doors, and that you have door bracing systems (door jams, door reinforcement kits) in place. Also, you might consider installing storm doors, or adding reinforcements to your doors such as metal bars and deadbolts. Make sure all entry doors have a secure deadbolt and that they have a tight seal around the frame to prevent wind and rain from entering your home.
- Store Hazardous Items Safely
Hurricanes can cause damage to your home and surrounding area, so it’s important to store hazardous items such as chemicals, gasoline, and propane tanks in a secure location, away from your home and other structures. Identify all hazardous items in your home, including chemicals, fuels, medications, and other potentially dangerous substances. Make sure you label all hazardous items with clear, legible labels that indicate the contents and any potential hazards. Store these items in the safest place you can, such as a locked cabinet or a secured storage area, away from areas that are likely to flood or be damaged during a hurricane. Make sure that you secure all the containers with hazardous materials, and that they will not spill or leak, even if they take heavy impact.
- Establish a windbreak.
You can use trees to your advantage, even though they can prove to be a hindrance during hurricanes. By properly maintaining several rows of trees that are at least 30 feet tall, you can create a windbreak of sorts that is quite resistant to lower levels of hurricanes and windstorms. Trees like pecan, live oak, cypress and hickory will offer your home some degree of protection. You can also remove all loose objects and install solid hurricane-resistant fences or screens to protect your house from debris and other wind-borne objects.
- Prepare an Emergency Kit
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for a hurricane, so consider putting together an emergency kit. This should include things like food, water, first-aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, and a battery-operated radio. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the kit is and what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Devise an alternative plan or even evacuate if necessary
Despite all of your efforts, a severe windstorm can make your mobile home an unsafe place to stay. Before evacuation warnings or warnings about an approaching hurricane are issued, try to familiarize yourself with the location of nearby hurricane-resistant shelters and map out a plan to reach them safely. Having a plan could save time in an emergency, it could even save your life! In some cases, the best course of action during a hurricane may be to evacuate your home. So definitely make sure that you have a plan in place for where you and your family will go, and be prepared to evacuate early if necessary.
Hurricane proofing your mobile home is an important step in protecting your family and property. By anchoring your home, reinforcing your roof, installing hurricane-proof windows, securing your doors, storing hazardous items safely, preparing an emergency kit, and evacuating if necessary, you can help reduce the risk of damage and keep your family safe during a hurricane.