As Tropical Storm Erika Approaches, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) Digital Resources Help Homeowners Prepare

Nonprofit offers free information, videos, checklists, and guidance on actions to take in advance of a tropical storm, hurricane, flood, or storm surge event.

Aug 28, 2015, 07:00 ET from Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Tropical Storm Erika continues to develop, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) is reminding residents in harm's way that they have time to prepare and make a difference before Erika strikes. Free, online resources at outline the necessary steps focused on family safety and home protection.

Family Safety Preparations

  1. Know Your Zone – There may be conditions when you evacuate, or there may be situations when you are ordered to leave. When mandatory evacuations become necessary, local officials will provide information to the public through the media, sirens, text alerts, and telephone calls. Even with these alert efforts, it is important to "Know Your Zone" ahead of time.
  2. Family Disaster Plan – Having a family disaster plan is the first step to getting ready for hurricane season. Your plan should include copies of important documents such as insurance policies, the deed to your home, and other personal papers. You should also include your evacuation information, outdoor inventory checklist, a shelter-in-place plan, important phone numbers, and a home inventory.
  3. Build Your Storm Kit – Start by listing all of the items you will need to have on hand for at least 72 hours following a storm if you would be unable to access outside resources. Kits should always include water, nonperishable food, batteries, flashlights, and a NOAA weather radio or the FLASH Wx Alerts App. Also include prescription medications, as well as supplies for infants, children, the elderly, or pets.

Home Protection Preparations

  1. Home Hurricane Inspection – A well-built home can stand up to hurricanes, and the best place to start is with a Do-It-Yourself Wind Inspection to see what type of shape your home is in.
  2. Temporary Emergency Plywood ShuttersIf a hurricane is headed your way and you do not have hurricane shutters, you need to board-up with plywood shutters. Measure all of the windows in your home you need to protect and have your plywood cut and labeled to make installation easy.
  3. Enhancing Roof Sheathing Attachment – You can improve your roof's resistance to uplift without removing any of your covering. Proper application of the right caulk can increase the wind uplift resistance of your plywood roof sheathing by as much as three times.
  4. Soffits – Properly installed soffits keep water out of your home, and hurricanes will bring plenty. Suitable caulking and screws will ensure your soffits are fit for hurricane season.
  5. Gutters – Along with strong wind, hurricanes bring heavy rains. Gutters direct rainfall away from your home and prevent flooding. Clear out any gutter debris and make sure there are no rust spots, holes, or openings.
  6. Landscaping – In a high-wind event anything can become a dangerous flying object. Make landscaping more hurricane-resilient by replacing rocks with mulch or trimming back tree limbs hanging over your roof.
  7. Patio and Yard Inventory – If a high wind event comes your way, you will need to bring in or anchor any items outside of your home that could become a dangerous flying object. To make sure you don't miss anything at the last minute, create a checklist of all of the items you will need to take care of.

For free information and resources, consumers can call (877) 221-SAFE (7233) or email

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country's leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 120 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster-resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council, Kohler® Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm™, and USAA®. In 2008, FLASH® and Disney opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and man-made disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH, and following the FLASH Twitter and Facebook accounts.


SOURCE Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)