The Atlantic and Caribbean hurricane seasons begin on June 1, whereas the north Pacific hurricane season begins on May 15. On December 1, it will be over. Be sure you and your loved ones are ready for hurricane season by preparing well in advance of the season each year. If a storm is on your way, this article should help you get ready for it. We have simplified the process by breaking it down into just six basic stages!
Step 1. Follow the Storm Closely
When a major storm is coming, be informed by continuously monitoring NOAA Weather Radio or the local news stations for updates. If authorities order an evacuation, follow their instructions. You do not want to get caught in a violent hurricane with no means of escape because you waited too long to heed the expert’s advice.
Step 2. Have a Plan
The best place to keep a list of important phone numbers in case of an emergency is on the fridge or next to every phone in the house. Put them in your cell phone’s address book. Find out where the closest shelter is and how to get there from your location. In addition to keeping your phone charged and your generator checked, and your fuel supply topped off for the generator and automobiles, you also need to be prepared for power outages.
Also, if you have pets, find a pet-friendly hotel, a relative or friend who lives outside of the area, or a shelter. If you are ordered to evacuate and need guidance on what to do with your pets, contact a local animal shelter.
Step 3: Prepare an Emergency Kit
To keep your family safe and healthy both during and after a hurricane, you will require certain goods. Keep in mind that a catastrophic storm might easily knock off your ability to get water and electricity. Car damage could also render you unable to use the vehicle as transportation. There could be road closures or flooding.
That’s why it’s smart to store supplies ahead of time, just in case. Collect items such as cash, nonperishable food, water, batteries, blankets, clothing, and toiletries. Here is a more detailed list of things to get ready:
- Some non-perishable food and water stored away that will last for several days
- A medical emergency kit to include medicines and supplies for injuries, including one for your pets
- Flashlights (and spare batteries) are good emergency power sources
- Safety and comfort items such as blankets, pillows, masks, and sanitizer
- Medical records, wills, passports, and other forms of official identity
- A fire extinguisher. Ensure that everyone in your household is aware of its location and proper use. Learn how to use it properly by perusing advice provided by the National Fire Protection Association.
Step 4. Prepare Your Home and Vehicles
Make sure your house and all your things are ready for the storm, whether you choose to leave or stay. Below are the main things to focus on:
Large trees and bushes should be trimmed, and outdoor items like furniture, plants, motorcycles, and toys should be stored away. Wrapping outdoor sculptures in burlap or blankets and securing them with rope is a viable option. Installing shutters or bulletproof glass in your windows, doors, and skylights is a great way to keep the elements out. In an emergency, you can secure plywood sheets to the frames of your windows.
Make sure anything hanging on the walls is fastened securely and document your artwork collection and any damage it may have sustained. Hanging artwork outside should be brought inside and displayed at eye level. Take all your fixtures and appliances out of the rooms that have windows and doors. Stow them away in a cabinet or a closet inside the house.
You should place your autos on higher ground or up against your garage doors from within the garage. Keep your vehicle out from beneath any overhanging branches or wires, or in any low spots. Be sure to refuel your car as well.
Personal Belongings and Documents
Protect your jewelry and other valuables, as well as crucial documents like your birth certificate, marriage license, bank statements, and insurance policies, by storing them in a safety box or bolted safe in a secure internal closet.
Making an inventory of your belongings will also help you determine how much property insurance you need. It can facilitate the claims process, provide proof of financial losses for federal income tax returns, and be useful when applying for state or local disaster relief. Take as many images or videos as you can. Be careful to print out or upload a copy of your home inventory in case you must escape in a hurry.
Step 5: Identify a Shelter Room
This room should be located on the ground level, away from any windows, in the middle of the home. If you need to ride out a hurricane, a closet is a relatively safe haven.
You could also build a new section onto your house if you have the funds for it, with concrete walls and a ceiling that is reinforced with steel rebar. In the event of future hurricanes, tornadoes, or other extreme disasters, this space can be transformed into your very own in-home safe room. You can study FEMA guidelines to ensure the room is truly reinforced.
Step 6. Double Check Your Insurance Coverage
Look at your insurance coverage. Learn how much your insurance policy covers and if it would be enough to replace your home and valuables if disaster strikes. Remember that if a hurricane causes damage to your house, your homeowner’s insurance will likely pay for emergency repairs and reasonable alternative living expenses. If your temporary residence is in a different community, you may incur some additional costs, such as transportation to and from your place of employment or education.
However, flood damage isn’t typically covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies, so it’s important to shop around for separate flood protection. A second policy to cover wind and water damage may be necessary if you reside near the coast. If you have concerns about whether your existing policy adequately protects you, or if you would like to increase the scope of your coverage, please consult with a qualified insurance specialist.
Hopefully, you feel better prepared after reading this article! If you want to be as ready as possible in case of an emergency, but are feeling overwhelmed, remember that many government agencies have published extensive information and resources on emergency preparation suggestions and strategies. If you need additional information about how to prepare ready for a storm, feel free to check out the CDC, NOAA, and Red Cross websites. They offer a plethora of information!
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- Insurance Information Institure, Available here: https://www.iii.org/article/preparing-hurricane
- Center for Disease Control, Available here: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/before.html
- Chubb, Available here: https://www.chubb.com/us-en/individuals-families/resources/10-steps-to-prepare-for-a-hurricane.html