Hurricane season is upon us, so it’s important to know how best to be ready for the high winds, heavy rainfall, flooding and even tornadoes that a hurricane can bring.
First and foremost is to stay informed. Know where to go. If you’re ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation routes and have a plan for where you will be able to stay.
Have an emergency kit ready. Make sure you have water and non-perishable food on hand. Put together a go-bag. This should include a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate.
If you’re in an area that is not evacuated, and you decide to stay in your home, you should plan to have adequate supplies in the event you lose power and water for several days and are unable to travel because of flooding or blocked roads.
Every family should also have a family emergency communication plan. Determine how you’ll contact one another and reconnect, should you be separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Find out if your community has a text or email alert system for emergency notifications. If so, sign up.
Prepare Your Property
Before the storm, secure and reinforce loose roof shingles, windows, garage doors and doors of your home or vacation home, to help minimize property damage.
Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall. Before hurricane season, trim or remove damaged trees and limbs, to keep you, your family and your property safe.
Secure loose rain gutters and clear clogged areas to prevent water damage to your property.
Be sure to check your basement too. Often basements will flood or collect water during or after a storm. Before the storm, relocate critical items or secure them in plastic bins, preferably on the upper levels of your home. If possible, assure all critical utilities are elevated to decrease the risk of electric shock.
If available, purchasing flood insurance should be done before the bad weather hits too, says Daniel Bates, a certified agent at Bates Insurance Agency.
“Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover risks associated with flooding, leaving you responsible for the cost of repairs,” Bates says. He also notes that flood insurance must be purchased in advance of the storm to cover your home for damages. Typically there is a 30 day waiting period before coverage begins.
“It’s always best to be prepared in advance for severe storms like hurricanes,” Bates says. “Stay informed and take the necessary steps to get your home and family prepared for bad weather before the storm hits to help keep you, your family and your property safer.”