TAMPA, Fla. - Here's a quick checklist for making sure your yard, and the outside of your house, is as safe as possible during a big storm:
Do not tape your windows as it does not provide an extra protection. Putting plywood over windows is far safer. Thick decorative glass by front doors is usually strong and well-sealed. Install plywood over thicker glass only as a final measure.
Sandbags 101: Put a tarp down first if you can to cover the bottom of doors and other home openings. Only use sand in sandbags as soil or mulch is not nearly as effective. Do not fill sandbags all the way; allow them to bend and fit tightly. Do not place sandbags uniformly but instead layer them like bricks and cover the bag openings as you stack.
If you can bring outdoor furniture, potted plants and other loose items into your house, do it. The fewer things blowing around your yard the better.
Pool furniture can actually go into the pool. Sink tables and chairs to the bottom
Clear any tree or bush debris from yard. If you can, remove weak-looking tree branches near house.
If you have larger outdoor pieces like swing sets or trampolines dismantle them as much as you can and bring them inside. If you can stake or tie things down, then do so. A garden hose can be used to tie objects to a house or tree.
Grills should be wheeled into the house or a garage. Do not bring propane tanks into the house. Instead, leave the tanks outside and tie them down if you can.
Same goes with generators. Do not bring portable generators into the house as their fumes release deadly carbon monoxide. Operate them a safe distance from your house. At least 15 feet from an opening if possible.