My friend Samantha grew up in Florida, and she and her family have hurricane-proofing their house down to a science. They know to put the grill in the garage, close the storm shutters and wait until the hurricane passes.
But, not everyone understands how to be that prepared for the high winds and heavy rains these seasonal storms can bring.
Last year, when Hurricane Irene made its way up the East Coast, many people had questions concerning what precautions they should take to ready themselves for the storm. I was worried about my parents in New York and called my friend Samantha, thinking that since she had lived through so many storms, she must have some good advice.
Sam said that to prevent glass breakage, my parents should board up their windows. And since their house doesn't have working shutters, they took advice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and had ⅝" plywood cut to fit over the glass.
Samantha told us that it is also important to bring in all lawn decorations and outdoor furniture, especially items on decks, as these can become very dangerous when they are picked up by a big gust of wind.
But, since her house has a built-in cooling system, Samantha wasn't sure what my parents should do about their window air conditioner. Mayor Bloomberg said that more people were likely to get hurt trying to uninstall the units than would get hurt if they stayed put, so theirs remained in the window.
My parents took Samantha's suggestions, made sure that they had a first aid kit and plenty of bottled water and waited for the storm to pass. They were lucky, and even though they were out of power for a few days, my parents' house weathered the hurricane very well.