Preparing Your Home

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Before hurricane season starts

Though Hurricane Matthew’s winds were not as severe as expected in 2016, they still created a tremendous amount of debris — 56,418 cubic yards of vegetative debris and fencing was collected in Melbourne alone. You can help reduce the amount of debris — and the time it takes for all of it to be collected — by keeping your yard and fence maintained before a storm is in the forecast.

Check trees:

  • Remove any dead limbs, branches and palm fronds from trees.
  • Trim them back if needed.

Check fencing:

  • Older fences could be rotted or unstable and may be ripped from the ground in high winds. A dangerous warning sign is if the fence wobbles in relatively strong gusts.
  • Perform regular maintenance. Look for loose or weak boards and nail or replace them as necessary.
  • If your fence is beyond its years, it may be best to get a new one before you see a hurricane.


Take these precautions if a strong storm is in the forecast

  • Remove any loose objects that aren’t secured to the ground.
  • Put lawn furniture into the garage and take decorations inside. Even trampolines can catch a strong wind and destroy your fence.
  • Be sure to remove any flags or small flag poles -- these can be especially dangerous.
  • Check for and remove trash and yard debris on the ground that could get caught up in high winds and inflict injury to people or damage property. This sort of debris could also get caught up in storm drains and canals and increase the potential for flooding.
  • Never stack tree trimmings, yard debris or any kind of trash on top of a stormwater inlet. These can wash into and clog the inlet, which could cause flooding on your street.

About Sandbags

Not all homes need sandbags. If you are in a low-lying area that is prone to flooding, sandbags may be used to protect your home by placing them across doorways to prevent water from entering the building.

The following documents provide additional information about sandbags and sandbag placement:

Most home improvement stores carry sandbags. You can purchase them and keep them in your hurricane supply kit and then fill them with any kind of sand or dirt available on your property. Home improvement stores often also sell fill dirt as well.


If you evacuate: turn off water to prevent damage

If you evacuate, shut off your house valve to protect your home. If you have a dock it is especially important that you shut off water to the dock if a hurricane is approaching.