JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Taking time to prepare your yard and pool when a storm is coming can save you headaches later.

  • Secure anything around your home that might tear loose or blow away, including garbage cans, grills, potted plants, garden tools, toys, signs, porch furniture, awnings.
  • Check trees and shrubbery, and remove limbs that could damage your house or utility lines.
  • Do not lower the water level in your swimming pool excessively, or it may pop out of the ground if there is flooding with the storm (softened ground can literally "float" a pool). If flooding is expected, you can lower the water level by up to a few feet, depending on the depth of the pool.
  • Add extra chlorine to your pool to fight off contamination. (3 gallons of chlorine per 5,000 gallons of water). Some pool companies recommend that you give your pool a "shock treatment" before the storm hits. (Don't let anyone use the pool after adding the additional chlorine.)
  • Turn off electricity to all of the pool equipment at the breaker.
  • Remove pumps from underground pits after all valves have been closed and the electricity has been shut off. Wrap any exposed pool equipment that you can't remove in plastic and secure it tightly with tape/rope.
  • Don't throw patio furniture in the pool unless you are willing to have it damaged/bleached by chlorine.