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When should you put up hurricane shutters or check to see if they work? What to know

A hurricane is coming. We go through our prep checklist. Water. Gas. Non-perishable food.

Shutters.

But when do you put up the shutters?

We have some advice:

South Florida impact

So far, South Florida doesn’t look like it’ll feel much of the effects of Tropical Storm Idalia.

But we’re just at the beginning of what is typically the most dangerous part of hurricane season. So it’s a good time to review when you should put up your shutters when your home may be in the path of a storms.

People in Miami-Dade and Broward counties won’t likely have to break out the drills and screwdrivers this time around. The Florida Keys might want to pay attention though. In any case, check out your shutters (if you don’t have accordion shutters) and make sure everything is in good working order.

Types of shutters

If you have accordion shutters, you simply have to make sure they shut and open properly. They’re pretty easy, and if they work right, they can be drawn and shut in minutes. .

Tropical Storm Idalia was expected to strengthen into a hurricane overnight on Monday as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Storm Idalia was expected to strengthen into a hurricane overnight on Monday as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico.

But many Floridians have more cumbersome aluminum slats that need to be placed and screwed onto a frame. That can be a chore that can take an entire day, depending on the size of the house. Older people and those with health issues may require aid from a family member, neighbor or friend.

When a hurricane is coming

Commit to hanging shutters if the National Weather Service puts your area under a Hurricane Warning. That means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours of the designation.

For stretches of Florida’s Gulf Coast, the path of Idalia means now is the time.

Also, button up your home if forecasters issue a Hurricane Watch, which means hurricane conditions are possible within a 48-hour window.

Who is responsible for putting up shutters?

The responsibility for putting up shutters can vary widely.

If you’re the sole owner of the property and don’t rent or live in a condo association, then it’s on you to protect your home.

If you rent, often your landlord will want to protect their property and may work with you to secure the home. Some condo associations put up shutters. Others leave it to the residents to protect their own units.

Idalia is expected to bring up to 12 feet of storm surge to the Big Bend area on Wednesday.
Idalia is expected to bring up to 12 feet of storm surge to the Big Bend area on Wednesday.

Check your association’s documents if you aren’t sure — but you were probably made aware of storm policies when you moved in to the community. Your association manager may also send out emails with hurricane advice and rules for where you live.

Will tape help if you don’t have shutters?

As for masking tape? Don’t do it. Masking tape doesn’t protect your windows from hurricane-force winds, and only leaves an unsightly mess if the storm bypasses your neighborhood.

What’s the worst thing you can do in a hurricane? How to avoid harm in a Florida storm