"Snowbirds On The Wing"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, April 7, 2017

This column is targeted at those folks who read the paper online or have it delivered to their winter homes.

Some of the suggestions may also apply to those who summer up north and head south when the snow flies.

The rush is on! Many snowbirds are packing and making moves to close up their winter residences.

They are beginning to make preparations to protect their property from possible severe storms and intense heat. Actions are often taken, such as applying roof tie-downs, anchors and special shutters to withstand storms, including hurricanes.

Just preparing to head north is a big undertaking, often lasting for days. When leaving a place in the southern states, where temperatures soar in summer months, many tasks need to be done to protect property.

Placing window coverings protects from sun damage and the use of shutters may give added protection from flying objects. Of special concern, because of the heat, liquids need to be secured. If stains and paints are left in a storage shed or other closed space, heat created by the sun can develop pressure in the containers.

They can leak and create a hazard and certainly a mess. Power tools left in storage, especially in sheds exposed to extreme heat, need to have batteries removed. The heat could cause them to leak or explode and cause a fire.

It's a good idea to check the pantry for food products that may become critter food while you are gone, canned foods can be left behind but check expiration dates. Check out the medicine cabinet thoroughly because many of those items also expire or will degrade when exposed to high heat.

Clothing presents a challenge because in any environment crawly creatures can visit and make a home if it is a welcome spot.

Try vacuum sealing or even use large garbage bags and tie securely at the tops.

If vehicles or boats are left at a vacation home, there are a number of tasks to perform to protect them. Gated communities usually have rules governing where they may be stored. In my community, the fire department places space requirements between movable objects to allow them access with their equipment. Our association directs that boats left unattended for any period of time have chains attached to anchors securely set in cement and buried in the ground. Any cars or trucks left must also be similarly anchored to avoid their moving around during storms and damaging adjoining property.

Some people make arrangements with friends who live in the community year-round, or hire someone, to care for their landscaping and special potted plants. Mother Nature cannot be trusted to provide enough moisture to offset the effects of the high heat in southern climates. Private associations will often maintain foliage but charge a hefty fee and perhaps not do it to your satisfaction. Sure hope all those headed north have a safe trip and I hope to be joining you soon. Better call ahead, just heard there is a snow storm predicted for some northern areas.

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