How To Hurricane-Proof Mobile Homes & Stay Safe During A Storm

by Jun 27, 2018Blog, Safety

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.

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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.




Tie-downs

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.

A truck driving through a hurricane

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

Windows

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.”

rain and house gutter

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.

Are mobile homes a safe place to stay during a hurricane?

Neither new nor old mobile homes or manufactured homes can provide a safe shelter from hurricane-force winds. Even if the area where your mobile home is located doesn’t require evacuation, never stay in it during a hurricane. Even if you follow all the steps to protect your home, it is still necessary to evacuate yourself to a safe location.

Hurricane Safety Tips

Hurricanes are one of the worst and most terrifying things mother nature can throw at you and your manufactured home. They could be accompanied by a flood, storm winds, and even tornadoes. Luckily, these do not affect most areas in the U.S. but are still commonplace enough to deserve thinking about. Read up on these hurricane safety tips so you and your loved ones can be prepared.

Hurricane Safety Tips For Mobile Home Residents - Featured Image

Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina are some of the states that are most frequently visited by these natural disasters. Generally, five days is the maximum accurate forecast of a hurricane that can be made. In most cases, it’s much less.

PREPARATION

The HUD code was meant to improve the safety of mobile homes, and this included drastic upgrades in their wind resistance. In fact, mobile homes are zoned according to what strength winds they can handle and are technically only allowed in the appropriate zones.

There are many things you can do for hurricane safety apart from ensuring that you have a HUD-certified home with an appropriate stormwind rating.

STAY INFORMED

  • Hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from the first of June until the end of November every year for those on the east coast. If you stay in this area, you should be prepared to be on alert for this entire time.
  • Stay on top of the weather news and predictions. You can also sign up for local weather alert SMS groups or get an NOAA radio.

Weather station

MAKE AN EVACUATION PLAN

  • Once they have issued hurricane warnings, authorities will designate evacuation zones. Sign up for a host home program or make arrangements with friends or family that stay outside the affected area. Also, find out the locations of local crisis centers.
  • Make a mental (or even better, physical) note of all the most important items (don’t forget documents) that you need to take with you in case of an evacuation and have a strategy for transporting them. This includes medication and pets. If you have space, pack items to pass the time.
  • Special needs patients should make further arrangements with their local fire department.

SECURE YOUR HOME

  • Tie-downs or anchors, as well as a permanent foundation, can help in strong winds and are mandatory in Florida. However, these will not be of much help in a full-blown hurricane.
  • As an extra precaution, make sure your home meets local flood zone specifications. Usually, this involves the home situated at a certain height and lifted up by piers.

For additional hurricane safety and preparation advice, visit the hurricane section of the Ready.gov website.

WHAT TO DO DURING A HURRICANE

The best thing to do in case of a hurricane is to pack up your things and go! Mobile homes are very vulnerable to hurricane damage. Most homes will be completely destroyed either by the winds, floods or blowing debris. Make sure your home is covered by your insurance policy.

You should never, ever, ever attempt to ride out a hurricane, not in a stick-built home and definitely not in a mobile home. They are just too unpredictable, and there are too many possible dangers involved.

packed bag

FOLLOW THESE HURRICANE SAFETY TIPS AND PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONES.

Many people refuse to head the warning signs and try to stick things out with their home until the end. We understand it can be hard to accept the loss of your home that’s filled with all your prized possessions and memories. However, it’s important to keep the perspective that nothing is more important than the lives of you and your family. We hope these hurricane safety tips help you prepare and stay unharmed.

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.



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