How To Hurricane-Proof Mobile Homes & Stay Safe During A Storm
Many of us hail the advent of warm, summery weather with joy. It’s the start of grilling season, camping season, beach season, and summer vacation. We’re ready to dig in and enjoy all summer has to offer. But there’s one other little gift that this time of year brings us–hurricane season. We don’t know of anyone who’s excited about that.
However, we do know that if you live in a hurricane-prone area, you’ve probably thought about hurricane season already and maybe even wondered how to hurricane-proof mobile homes. With the season upon us, you’re asking yourself what steps you can take to make your mobile home safer against these serious, and often deadly, storms.
Here are some tips to keep you and yours safe.
Let’s start with proper anchoring of your mobile home. We’re going to state the obvious here: if your mobile home isn’t properly secured, you’re putting it, and possibly yourself, in danger. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the requirements for mobile home tie-downs. It’s going to depend somewhat on where you live.
How can you make sure your tie-down system is up to par for your area? As Foremost Insurance Group notes here in their extensive tie-down resource, get with an inspector in your area.
Know your surroundings
And by “your surroundings” we mean your very immediate surroundings. As in structures that are actually attached to your house. Maybe you’ve got a handy carport. Or a bike and tool-storing lean-to attached to the house. Perhaps that dream porch you waited a long time for.
You love them all, and they make your house more comfortable and convenient. But keep in mind that in the event of a hurricane, they may sink you, metaphorically speaking.
Even if your home is in the proper wind zone and you expect it to withstand high winds, at least as high as it’s rated for according to the wind zone listed on its data plate, don’t assume that your secondary structures are similarly secure. Take it from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: “Attachments to site-built or manufactured houses, such as carports, awnings, and porches, are typically designed to lower building standards than those of the houses themselves….Consequently, attached structures frequently fail at much lower wind speeds than the buildings to which they are attached.”
Get a qualified professional in on the discussion here. When you have an inspector evaluate your tie-downs, get them to check out your secondary structures. Ask if your structures will compromise the stability of your home in a hurricane and get suggestions for what to do to make them appropriately secure.
Know your location, too
Now, we need to flesh out what we just mentioned about wind zones. Do you know what wind zone your home was engineered for? Like we noted above, you can go here for our more extensive treatment of this issue. Modern mobile homes have to be built to HUD wind zone standards.
In short, the US is divided into different wind zones, and each modern mobile home will be built to allow it to withstand the wind speed correlated to the zone it was designed for. But you need to make sure your home is in its proper wind zone. Check it out because the basic concept is that not all mobile homes are created equal when it comes to their ability to withstand high winds. If you’ve got your mobile home in a wind zone it wasn’t created for, you may be in trouble when a hurricane strikes.
Additionally, keep in mind that we’re qualifying our statements here with the word “modern.” As we mentioned in the above article, the HUD standards we’re talking about here haven’t always been in place. Therefore, if you don’t have a new mobile home, do some extra checking to see if these standards applied at its construction date.
Two areas to take care of as you hurricane-proof mobile homes
If you don’t want to return home to glass-covered floors and splintered windows, cover them. You’ve got options for doing this. Of course, there’s always plywood, which creates a haunting look that evokes old movies with ghost town scenes. Shutters are also a possibility, as are fabric storm panels.
Get to those gutters
No time like the present to clean out those gutters or at least to check them. As, Houzz notes for Fox News: “Let’s face it, the water will want to go somewhere. If it’s not down and away, it’ll be in your roof and attic. Conduct a visual inspection of your gutters and downspouts to be sure nothing blocks the flow of water from your roof and away from your home.”
Remember, stuff is going to fly
Be sure to secure objects outside your mobile home. If you’ve got a small construction project you’re working on, and you’ve left supplies stacked outside, now is the time to either tie it down or move it to a safer location. And not just because you don’t want to lose it. In hurricane force winds, anything left unsecured could easily become a projectile, breaking windows and generally wreaking havoc before it finds a resting place. Secure or remove anything that could be picked up by high winds.
Last but not least
Okay, now that you’ve taken steps to protect your home, we need to remind you of one important thing. Even if you’ve taken to heart our ideas to hurricane-proof mobile homes, don’t think this is a substitute for evacuation. If you get a hurricane warning, evacuate. It’s that’s simple. Sure you want to try to protect your beautiful mobile home and we’re here to help you do that, but always protect you and your family first and foremost.