Home Repair Expert Preps For Ivan

Danny Lipford, host of "Today's Homeowner," spends his days offering advice and help to homeowners, but Wednesday morning, he was busy preparing his own home to withstand a hit by Hurricane Ivan. He showed The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith how to board up windows – and doors.

Danny also showed the emergency supplies he and his family will have on hand as they ride out the storm in their basement.

This is the first time in 14 years that Lipford has felt the need to seriously prep his home for a hurricane. The last big storm to hit the area was Frederick in 1979. That means that many residents in Ivan's current path may still be working to fully prepare their property.

Placing plywood over windows and doors is the most important thing you can do to protect your home from a hurricane's wrath. It's essential to cut the wood to fit exactly over windows; you want to screw the sheet of plywood directly into a window frame. If the wood is larger than the window frame, wind may sneak in behind the wood and blow it off the house.

The cost of boarding up a home obviously varies, but as a point of reference, Lipford is using a total of 27 sheets of plywood for his home. At about $16 a sheet, he spent around $430. After the storm, Lipford will remove the plywood and fill the holes in his window frame with a little caulking. He recommends labeling the board so the next time you need it to protect your home, you'll know which window it's designed to fit.

Boarding up exterior doors is also a smart move. Because most doors open INTO a home, strong winds can cause the door to blow in and completely break away from the frame. As added protection, Lipford suggests propping a sturdy wood chair under the interior door knob.

Obviously, you'll also want to move anything that may potentially blow away inside. Items like patio furniture can cause real damage if tossed around by hurricane-strength winds. Lipford also warns homeowners not to forget the smaller outdoor items such as bird feeders, bird baths, wind chimes and flower pots.

Lipford also took special care to make sure his generator was ready before the storm arrives. Do not even attempt to mess with a generator while a storm is blowing. If your power goes out, make do with flashlights until the hurricane passes.

He recommends keeping your generator outside, preferably in a protected area, so your family will not be exposed to carbon monoxide. When refueling a generator, remember that it will be hot; use a funnel.

Lipford and his family plan to ride out the storm in the lower level of their home which is reinforced by concrete blocks. He has family from other parts of town coming over to his home because (as you would expect) his home is the sturdiest.

Of course, the Lipford family has a "hurricane kit" ready to go. Inside an old ice chest, they have flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit and playing cards. And, if anyone in the family took special medications, that would also be carefully tucked into a plastic bag and included in the cooler.