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Hurricane Preparation: A Safe Place

Identifying a "safe room" in your home is important!

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We're going on a tour of your home. Our mission? To find a safe room or area in your home that is appropriate for each hurricane hazard — storm surge, flooding and wind.

Since most homes in Florida do not have basements, a "safe room" is usually a small, interior area of your home. It may be a bathroom or walk-in closet, preferably away from windows or exterior doors. In a two-story house, according the the University of Florida, "the strongest wall is often a closet or cubicle near a stairwell on the ground floor." Remember that the room you choose should be able to accommodate your entire family, even if it is a tight fit.

Although some builders are adding "safe rooms" to new construction or homeowners are retrofitting their homes to include "safe rooms" built to withstand high winds, the cost — estimated $2500 to $6000 — is prohibitive to most homeowners. Still, if you're interested in building a "safe room" it is important to educate yourself. HGTVpro.com's What Makes a Safe Room Safe? lists three important factors to consider when building a "safe room."

Of course, if you live in a mobile or manufactured home or flood-prone area, the safest place may not be in your own home at all. It means that you may have to evacuate to a safe place within your community or a neighboring community — either a friend's or a relatives' house, a hotel or public shelter. Deciding now where you will go in case an evacuation is ordered will become part of your "plan," so now is the time to study the evacuation routes for your county.

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