Prepping Your Caribbean Home for Extreme Weather

Preparing a Caribbean Villa's roof.

Preparing a Caribbean Villa’s roof.

Tips for preparing your Caribbean home this hurricane season.

Every year between June and November, inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands brace themselves for yet another hurricane season. Thankfully, we still have a few months before the rains, lightening and thunder signal the start of the 2019 hurricane season.

Preparing your home and yourself will not only save lives, but also a lot of money in post-storm home repairs.  Many a times we take warnings for granted and assume that any of the other islands in the Caribbean chain will be the one it goes over, however, ideally during the hurricane season our homes should always be at least half hurricane-ready.

Don’t ever wait until a storm watch is issued to start preparing for it, as it may already be too late to take even the most basic of precautions. So, this hurricane season follow the tips below:

Pile up the plywood

One of the greatest dangers that occur during a severe storm is the airborne projectiles that can obliterate windows without shutters. While you can have specialised hurricane shutters installed at your home, plywood may prove to be a more affordable resolution. Boarding up your windows is not overly time-consuming so you can wait until the storm season is near to commence with the task at hand. It is, however, advisable to stock up on your plywood well in advance as supplies generally run very low once the first storm warning is issued.

Repair your roof in advance

Leaks, cracks, missing screws, unfinished coverings etc are all potential weakness points in what covers personal belongings and our frightened bodies during a storm – the roof!

Preparing a Caribbean Villa's roof.

Preparing a Caribbean Villa’s roof.

The roof takes the biggest knock during these storms, often disintegrating under winds of up to 155mph.

In order to give your roof the best possible chance of remaining intact during extreme weather, you need to ensure that it is well-maintained at all times property in Dominica. Carry out routine inspections, checking for any signs of damage and decay and have it repaired as soon as possible. Where possible, apply some construction glue along the sides of your trusses or rafters where they connect to the deck of the roof. You can also enlist the services of a professional roofing contractor to install hurricane clips that fasten the roof to the walls of the house, reducing the chances of it being ripped off.

Remove any debris in the area

Dominica villa surround by trees

Dominica villa surround by trees.

As soon as the warning of a major storm has been issued one of the first things you need to do to protect your home is secure or remove as many as possible airborne projectiles from around your house. Tree branches, garden furniture, toys, dog kennels, and even domestic waste collectors can all become airborne in strong winds. Although it may not be viable, or convenient, to clear your entire property from potentially-dangerous items you can responsibly protect both your home from damage and your family from injury, by doing removing the most dangerous items.

Remain calm at all costs

As frightened as you may feel during an extreme weather occurrence it is important to remain as calm as possible. Not only will your composed air calm down the other members of your household but you will also be able to make more lucid decisions during stressful times. Apart from prepping your home for a storm, also make sure you have enough drinking water, non-perishable food, warm blankets, a first aid kit, and cash readily available should you be confined to your home or need to evacuate. Also, consider the special needs of the elderly and children and don’t forget to keep your pets out of harm’s way as well.

Caribbean garden three months after hurricane Maria devastated Dominica in 2017.

Caribbean garden three months after hurricane Maria devastated Dominica in 2017.

Dealing with extreme weather conditions have become a way of life for many of us living in the Caribbean.

By being adequately prepared for a storm it is, however, possible to not only reduce the damage to our properties but, to life as well. Be prepared and stay safe this hurricane season.

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