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    Protecting your home

    By Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 19, 2002

    Here are things you can do to protect your home from a hurricane:

    -- Prepare window protection -- get shutters or cut plywood to fit, and have fasteners ready.

    -- Caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors so wind does not penetrate cracks.

    -- Install bracing on garage doors, or replace an older door with a reinforced door.

    -- Bolt doors with foot and head bolts with a minimum throw length of 1 inch.

    -- Gather valuables and papers and place them in a safe deposit box or other secure location outside your home.

    -- Prepare a detailed list of all possessions and their cost. Photograph or videotape your home, inside and out, and specific valuables and high-ticket items. Store in a safe place. Keep a camera handy so you can document damage to support an insurance claim.

    -- Find your insurance policy; write down the name and phone number of your company and your agent. Keep these with you if you must evacuate.

    -- When a storm threatens, tie down or bring inside loose items (furniture, sports equipment).

    -- If your home has gable ends, seek the advice of an engineer or contractor about reinforcing them against the wind.

    On the Web

    -- FLASH (Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, partnership of insurance industry, government agencies, nonprofits, businesses), www.flash.org: Preparedness information for hurricanes and other disasters, checklists. Related site, www.blueprintforsafety.com, offers technical recommendations for building and remodeling.

    -- The Florida Building Code is online at www.floridabuilding.org.

    -- The Florida Department of Emergency Management has a Web site at www.floridadisaster.org with tips on hurricane preparation and reinforcing your home.

    -- The Federation of Manufactured Homeowners Association offers information on how to protect manufactured housing at www.fmo.org.

    What will it cost?

    Here are cost estimates on some common forms of window protection for a window 3 by 5 feet:

    Rolldown, nonmotorized aluminum shutter: $630-$1,100

    Window film: $110-$120

    Aluminum corrugated panel: $150-$165

    Steel panel: $130-$150

    Clear Lexan (polycarbonate plastic) corrugated panel: $190-$270

    Aluminum accordion shutter: $400-$500

    Stainless steel screening: $450

    Colonial/Bahama shutter: $630-$700

    "Shutterless protection in a box": Kit with double-faced tape, heavy polyester-reinforced vinyl: $1 per square foot

    4 by 8 sheet of half-inch plywood (code mandates minimum of 7/16 inch): $10.35

    -- Source: local retailers.

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