As hurricane season begins in the United States with the possibility of many hurricanes brewing in various areas--impacting both on the coastline and inland populations--it's important to be as prepared as possible. Hurricane notifications give everyone plenty of time to prepare and one simple way to add a protective layer and peace of mind is with rope.
Ways to Use Rope During Hurricane Season
Even if you have hurricane strapping installed it's a good idea to use rope to secure other areas in and around your home. Rope with a high tensile strength and a slight "give" is best. Solid Braid Polypropylene Utility Rope is inexpensive, resists rot, mildew and chemicals and fits all the properties you'd need in an emergency. It also floats. Adding some inexpensive fish netting under the rope is a good way to hold down shingles as well.
#1. Tying Down and Re-enforcing Trees and/or Branches Using Rope
The essential idea behind this is to secure heavy or sensitive branches and trees using rope. Although it is impossible to determine exactly how trees will be impacted by an incoming storm, taking these preventative measures will lessen the chance of destruction to both your trees and your property.
When tying your rope, keep in mind that the idea it to convert any pressure on a weaker branch onto a stronger one. By using rope in a way that strengthens weakened parts of the tree, they will be better equipped to overcome the strong winds and heavy rains that accompany a hurricane.
More information on techniques for this can be found here.
#2. Securing Outdoor Items
Things like potted plants, gardening tools, lawn chairs, etc., should be placed either in a safe outdoor corner or a garage. Once these items are placed in a secure fashion, Solid Braid Polypropylene rope can be used to hold them in place.
If you own a grill, tying this down or securing it in your garage could prove to be very valuable. If the electricity goes out, this will be an asset to continue being able to cook.
Learn from the scouts on how to tie some of your best knots from our Pioneering Knots & Lashings Guide.
#3. Tying Down Your Boat and Nautical Equipment with Rope
An incoming hurricane is daunting for life inland, but can be even more worrisome when you own a boat. You might even picture something like the picture above, but there are ways to fasten your boat down to reduce the risk of this occurring.
Solid Braid Polypropylene Utility Rope is an excellent choice here since it floats, resists rot and mildew and is perfect for using around the water. It is a more economical and lighter weight alternative to nylon or polyester rope.
#4. Having a Go-Bag Prepared Including Solid Braid Polypropylene Rope
In being prepared for any disaster, having a go-bad containing essential items is paramount. These bags should be easily carried and cater to each person's needs. Items can include things like a flashlight, a first aid kit, bottled water and of course, rope!
Rope can come in handy in a variety of ways in the event of an emergency. It can be used to make a sling or tourniquet or simply to tie items down as discussed above.
#5. Securing the Roof of Your Home Utilizing Rope
If your home does not already have hurricane strapping for your roof installed this is the most assured way to secure your roof.
The single most important step in securing your roof is anchoring the rope. No matter how strong your rope is it will do no better than the strength of your anchor posts.
The post hole approach:
Here, you put concrete-filled post holes about 4 feet from the wall with an embedded steel tie-down point (like that shown below). Then you can attach the ropes. They should be low enough in the ground so that your mower doesn't hit them.
The reason they are about 4 feet from the wall is that they are much harder to pull out sideways than straight up as would be the case if they were right by the side of the wall. The protocol would be to toss a ball of string attached to the rope over the roof then use that to pull the bigger rope over. Secure it on one side, then secure it loosely on the other side. Only tighten the ropes 100% once you know the hurricane is definitely going to arrive. Tightening down the ropes is sure to cause a little shingle and gutter damage so you wouldn't do it unless the threat was completely real.
Another option is to put strong eye bolts in the foundation if the foundation is accessible. You can tie off on them and they would hold as well but this also requires previous installation and some drilling into concrete. This tactic might even be stronger than the post hole method.
The next aspect is to "net" the entire roof with some light weight fish net. It must be just strong enough to hold the shingles on. Put pieces of netting the width of the space between two post hole tie-downs. A complete net for the whole house would weigh too much to easily deploy.
Then, at the base of the house, attach them to the post hole tie-downs. These attachments don't have to be particularly tight like the roof ties. They shouldn't be able to come loose under any circumstances. Leave everything separate so that if one thing fails, the rest aren't pulled away by it, i.e. don't tie everything together into one big piece of rope-net-anchors.
The net holes don't have to be very fine ... just so that they cover each individual shingle. Note the added protection of having a first line of defense in the front of your home to catch flying debris. You should also board your windows. If your house is completely "wrapped" in netting, you can store stuff between the net and your wall, like outdoor furniture. Anything you put there is another line of defense. Trimming the trees around your home will help to reduce the flying debris problem and stowing it between the net and wall would make that debris work for you instead of against you. A great deal depends on how much time you have to work on your defense. The ropes, of course, come first. If you lose your roof, you lose everything.
In Conclusion, Some More Information on Hurricanes and Safety
Hurricane Safety Tips:
- Stay away from low-lying and flood prone areas.
- Always stay indoors during a hurricane, because strong winds will blow things around.
- Leave mobile homes and to go to a shelter.
- If your home isn’t on higher ground, go to a shelter.
- If emergency managers say to evacuate, then do so immediately.