Safety is the most important part of storm preparedness. Please remember that no matter how good your tie-downs are or how complete your insurance coverage is, evacuation is the best plan to save your life.
Before the storm, secure your home.
* Anchors required: Florida law requires manufactured home owners to secure their homes using anchors and tie-downs. Homes without proper tie-downs are more vulnerable to high winds. Taking proper precautions now will ensure that your mobile home is properly secured, reducing possible damage to your home and your neighbor's property. Tie-downs should be checked at least once a year.
* Windstorm insurance: Florida law prohibits the sale of windstorm insurance on manufactured homes not anchored in accordance with Florida law.
* Flood insurance: Damage caused by flooding is not covered by most homeowner's policies. You may need flood insurance even if you do not live in a flood zone. The National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available for manufactured homes on foundations. See your insurance broker for details.
* Contractor's license: Florida law requires tie-down installers to be licensed by the state. To verify a contractor's license, call the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, Manufactured Housing Section of Division of Motorist Services.
* Inspections: Have your tie-downs inspected by an installer. Most installers will inspect your home and provide a free estimate.Get estimates from three installers and ask them to explain the installation.
* Installation rules: Tie-down installation requirements are set forth in Florida Administration Code 15C-1. Ask your installer about the requirements of that Code. For detailed information contact the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Mobile Home and Recreational Vehicle Construction at (850) 617-3004.
* Time and cost: A typical tie-down installation costs less than $2,000 and takes less than a day.
* Alternative anchoring systems: When a contractor inspects for tie-downs, ask if there are dependable, state-approved anchoring systems available for your home. Also ask about recommended methods to secure storage/ utility sheds, carports, and other vulnerable structures.
* Group estimates: Most contractors provide discounts for group installations. Meet with your neighbors to plan a group inspection and/or installation.
* Utilities: Learn how and when to turn off gas, water, & electricity.
* Check for loose straps.
* Make sure straps are properly aligned and not on an angle.
* Check to be sure the proper number of tie-downs is installed.
* Verify that ground anchors and stabilizer plates have been installed properly.
* Be sure support piers are in contact with the frame.
* Replace straps or ground anchors that show signs of corrosion or damage.
* For additional protection, you may want to consider installing a longitudinal tie-down system located at the front and rear of your home.
Develop an Evacuation Plan
* Host homes: Emergency management agencies recommend you arrange a "host home" outside the evacuation zone. A host home is the home of a friend or family member who has agreed to provide temporary shelter for you and your family.
* Communication plan: Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
* Public Shelters: Public Emergency Shelters should be your last resort in an evacuation. You will have no privacy, limited space, and meal service may be delayed. Your temporary "home" will be a gymnasium floor or public hallway, and local officials must give you permission to leave. If you must use a public shelter, identify two shelters nearby, preferably in different directions from your home.
* Evacuation Routes: Be prepared to drive 20 to 50 miles to reach a safe place.
Source: Lee County Emergency Management