Wondering how to secure a mobile home before the next big storm hits? These tips will help keep your home dry and whole.
In The Wizard of Oz a tornado picks up Dorothy’s Kansas home, transporting it intact to a magical world “over the rainbow.” With a mobile home, however, there’s no city with a yellow brick road where you can click your heels together and return everything to normal after a storm. And there are plenty of strong storms besides tornadoes that can cause damage. That’s why it’s important to know how to secure a mobile home before the next big storm heads your way.
Manufactured homes, or mobile homes as they are often called, have often been vilified as one of the most dangerous places to be during a severe storm. The Weather Channel points out that “nearly 40 percent of all tornado deaths have historically occurred in mobile homes.”
On the other hand, the Manufactured Housing Institute argues that “properly installed manufactured homes are as safe as traditional homes during a storm.”
So which is it? Could they both be right? Is the key in that one little phrase, “properly installed?” Or does it depend on the storm? After all, a tornado is a lot different than a blizzard or summer thunderstorm.
How to Secure a Mobile Home
to weather any storm
It’s important first to note that especially severe storms, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, require different responses than your average rain shower or windy day. In both cases, a permanent, solid shelter, preferably away from windows, is usually the safest place. In a tornado, take shelter in a basement or interior room if you can and cover your head. In the event of a hurricane, many localities may issue an evacuation notice. Because geography plays a large part in storm tracks and severity, always follow the instructions of your local emergency management administration or emergency personnel.
Check your anchors:
For most storms, figuring out how to secure a mobile home begins with the installation of the home itself. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires anchors as part of the installation process for most new mobile homes. The specific requirements vary depending on soil composition, wind zone, and type of home, but the goal is to literally secure the mobile home to the ground. For mobile homes in a terminal installation, meaning they won’t be moved, some states in earthquake-prone areas are moving toward a concrete block foundation requirement.
Checking your anchors for rust or damage is good item to put on your home maintenance checklist.
Strong winds moving underneath your home can stress vinyl and metal siding, as well as any utility hookups underneath your home. Enclosing that space with skirting will help keep the bottom of your home dry and limit wind damage.
Secure outdoor items:
Patio tables, plants, grills, lawn furniture, and any other items can turn into major hazards during strong storms. To keep your favorite lawn ornaments from turning into flying bludgeons during a storm, bring them inside or tie them down.
Install permanent shutters:
Rather than trying to cover your windows with plywood every time there’s a big storm, install metal or wood shutters.
Wind isn’t the only thing that can damage your home during a storm. Falling tree limbs can crush part of a home, so while the weather is good, check the trees near your home for old or fragile branches or have your trees checked by a local tree expert. It's better to clean them up before the storm hits than after.
Clear the roof:
Big storms happen in the winter, too, when snow can accumulate quickly. When too much snow piles up on your roof, you could be facing severe structural problems. Your roof can only hold so much weight before it collapses. This is true with mobile homes and with permanent structures. Flat and nearly flat roofs are especially vulnerable to the weight as the snow doesn’t slide off. If snow is piling up, carefully use a telescoping snow rake to remove the snow.
Don't let bad weather ruin your day. Get in touch with your local Pekin Insurance agent before the next storm leaves you out in the cold.