Maryland is one of the many American states to get hit by weakened tropical depressions, hurricanes, and tropical storms. It has become a target 93 times, since 1950, but luckily none of these storms were rated very high on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. According to this widely used scale, a Category 1 hurricane can produce intense winds of around 74-95 miles per hour. Believe it or not, this is powerful enough to damage your roof, gutters, and vinyl siding.
The roof is the most important part of a building structure. The roof system not only prevents water intrusion, but blocks out ultraviolent radiation, hail, snow, and wind. If the roof system is lacking in any way, it will put your entire home at risk of damage due to the above external factors. According to the Department of the Environment, Maryland is more at risk of the tropical storm than the hurricane itself. Tropical storms are the high winds and flooding that follows the hurricane, but these should not be taken lightly.
Hurricane preparedness is the only genuine way to reduce or eliminate the damage. If the roof system is unable to sustain the wind forces, it will fail, leaving your home vulnerable to the elements. Once the interior is exposed to water, the moisture will become trapped, causing mold and bacterial growth. Mold is a type of fungi that has been linked to severe allergic reactions, and mild to moderate upper and lower respiratory conditions. Individuals that have been diagnosed with chronic lung disease will be at a higher risk.
First and foremost, all Marylander home and business owners need to make sure that their roof system is in compliance with the general building code requirements. To order a copy of the residential Building Code Basics, use the following link to connect to the International Code Council website: http://shop.iccsafe.org/codes.html.
Creating an emergency preparedness plan is genuinely not that difficult, but all members of the family must be onboard. This should not only include your roof system, but should also include the equipment stored on top of the roof, especially the air conditioning system.
- Board up the windows with 5/8” plywood or metal storm shutters
- Secure the roof to the main frame, by utilizing hurricane clips or metal straps
- Clean guttering system and remove debris from downspout
- Keep trees and large bushes neatly trimmed
- If possible move livestock and pets to a safe location or provide them with a strong alternative shelter. To learn more, click here to visit the FEMA library: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1390846777239-dc08e309debe561d866b05ac84daf1ee/pets_2014.pdf
- Individuals that reside in mobile homes and high-rise apartments should evacuate
- The authorities may request Maryland residents to turn off utilities
- For individuals that plan on remaining in their home, it is vital to choose a safe location (closet, interior room, hallway) and stay there, until otherwise instructed
- Shut blinds and stay away from windows
- Shut and strengthen all external door supports
- Avoid consuming tap water
- Tune into NOAA Weather Radio for current weather conditions and routine updates