Ready, or Not? Stay Safe During Hurricane Season with These Tips!
It’s hurricane season – and we don’t mean the totally insane time period at the start of the school year when everyone is trying to establish a new routine. We’re talking about the interval between June 1 to November 30 when the most hurricanes form in the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Weather Service defines a hurricane as a "tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher." These storms, like those in the Sunshine State know, can form and strengthen quickly. Suffice to say, the time to prepare is before your Facebook feed is full of weather warnings and funny storm memes.
With that in mind, we recommend the following tips to for surviving hurricanes.
Before the Storm
Insurance – Contact your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage for hurricane damage. Typically, this consists of a combination of windstorm and flood coverage. While you have your insurance agent on the line, be sure to ask about your hurricane deductible.
Inventory and Data Back-Up – Maintain an inventory, with photos and video, of valuable household content. We don’t mean your kids! ;-) An inventory of your important personal property and belongings will assist in the insurance claim should your home be damaged or destroyed in a storm.
Protect Your Home – Grab sandbags. (You can get them here). Bring in flags, wreaths, potted plants, and other Pinterest-worthy exterior house décor. Board up windows with storm shutters or plywood. Secure all doors. Check any pool cover to ensure that it is intact. You know the drill!
During the Storm – if you Stay
Stock Up and Fill Up – Purchase plenty of non-perishable food supplies, bottled water, a first-aid kit, a battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries to store in air-tight containers. Then, fill bathtubs and sinks with water to ensure you have enough to flush the toilet, cook, etc. in case of a power outage.
Make Adjustments – . . . To the refrigerator temperature, that is! Use the coldest settings to reduce the potential for food spoiling if the power is temporarily lost.
Hunker Down– Locate a safe room or the safest areas of your home. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind in making choosing this location.
Stay Safe – Don’t venture out into the storm until it’s safe to do so. Although it may be tempting to bust out your surfboard, be responsible before paddling out for a few waves.
During the Storm – if You Evacuate
Prepare to Leave – Certainly, when authorities say to evacuate, please listen! Before you leave, unplug all appliances, TV's and computers and move important items to a higher floor or surface. Also, turn off your water to prevent flooding from broken pipes and your gas to prevent leaks from occurring.
Notify Others – Let others know where you’ll be staying. . . especially if you plan on crashing their place. ;-).
Stay Informed – Keep abreast of storm-related developments.
After the Storm
Travel with Caution – Be vigilant when driving through storm-damaged areas. Look out for downed tree limbs, branches, power lines, and debris in the roadway. Avoid driving through standing water.
Inspect with Care – When you arrive at your home, inspect the outside and inside. Don’t enter if you smell gas, see downed power lines or notice floodwater.
Report a Claim – Report damage to your insurance company. Take photographs of the damage. If you make temporary repairs, retain the receipts and turn them into your insurance company.
Keep the above tips in mind, and browse these additional resources for more information.