Mobile Home Storm Safety
Mobile home living on the coast can cause apprehension and fear as hurricane season poses threats of severe damage to homes. For higher category storms, depending on how far from the coast your home is, you may have to evacuate and risk for damage may be high for all homes regardless of type.
Always Have a Plan for Mobile Home Storm Safety
For these storms, always have a plan in effect ahead of time, have your emergency kit ready, and know where you are going. Be sure and have important papers, medication, any pet supplies, blankets, weather radio, extra batteries, and blankets in an easy to get to place in your home. Preparation can save your life and the lives of your loved ones!
Once you and your family know you can get to safety, the next understandable and real fear is the safety of your home. For those who have chosen mobile home living, particularly if the home is older, the risk is higher. Although there is no way to prevent all damage during severe hurricanes, it is possible to minimize damage and protect your mobile home, especially for lower category storms.
Installing Shutters Can Protect Your Mobile Home
An important step to protect a mobile or manufactured home, as well as stick built homes, is to apply permanent storm shutters on the windows before storms approach. It is best to have these added as the home is built; however, it is possible to add the shutters to existing homes as well.
The first step is choosing the type of shutter is best suited for your needs and your financial situation. According to Sun Sentinel there are three main styles of permanent shutters to choose from.
Tracks and Bolts
With a track and bolt system, the top of the panel is in a track above the window and the bottom is bolted permanently beneath the window.
This type of shutter has tracks both above and below the window and doors. From either side, bolts are slid in and brought into line with holes that are on the panels. This is done manually.
Another style of shutters bolts into the wall and is permanent.
The best type of protection is a steel panel. These are difficult to install because they are rather heavy. For handymen, or those who have professional help, these are the best option for safety.
Aluminum panels are offered at around the same cost as steel panels, but are easier to install. These offer less protection and are best used when no heavy debris is coming from upwind.
“One word of caution: if electric power is used to open or close shutters, then a mechanical backup is mandatory, since electricity may very well be off before or during a storm.” – Weather.com
Plywood applied over the windows can be sufficiently effective if installed and fitted properly. Before a storm or preferably before hurricane season, cut the plywood, make sure it fits and can be installed properly. Mark the plywood well, store it with the hardware needed, and make sure it is relatively easy to get to when needed.
Once shutters are installed, take time at least once a year (mark your calendar) and practice closing and operating the shutters. Check for any damage and have repairs made immediately. During a hurricane is not the time to find out your hardware isn’t working correctly or there is damage.