Hurricane Season: The Importance of Being Prepared
From June through November, hurricanes are at their peak. As we know, heavy rains and catastrophic winds can severely damage or destroy homes and businesses. The best way to minimize damage from a hurricane is to be prepared before one strikes.
1. Get a Kit: Pack an Emergency Supply Kit or a "to-go bag". Prepare a portable kit to keep in your car that includes:
- Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
- Battery-operated radio, a flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Can opener, plastic cups and eating utensils
- Gallon of water per family member and nonperishable foods
- Maps of the area and a copy of your emergency contacts
- Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, insurance policies, photos of your family (including pets), etc. Ask your Client Service Representative for a Marshall & Sterling Storm Secure Documents Portfolio.
- Personal hygiene items, toilet paper and hand sanitizer
- Unique family needs such as copies of prescription medications, pet food and supplies, infant supplies or any other need your family may have
- Books, games and other forms of entertainment
By having these kits in place, you and your family can focus on remaining safe during a disaster and keeping each other calm. Consider preparing these kits together as a family so that kids understand the importance of being prepared.
2. Make a Plan.
- Prepare your family: Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
- Plan to Evacuate: Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend's home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
- Plan your Transportation: If you have a car, keep at least a half tank of gas in it at all times, and fill up if a storm threatens.
- Take your Emergency Supply Kit.
- Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency: Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters.
- Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class. Keep your training current.
3. Be Informed: Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane, and the best sources of weather-related news to check during a storm.
- A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
- A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately
- Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
4. Prepare Your Home.
- Have a way to cover all of your home's windows (pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters) to protect your windows from high winds.
- Plan to secure outside objects, and if possible, have a place to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Know how to turn off utilities and propane tanks
- Ensure a clean area for a supply of water for sanitary purposes (cleaning and flushing toilets). Plan to fill the bathtub or have other large containers with water.
Additionally, exercise extreme caution when inspecting your home for damage after a hurricane, strong winds or flooding. Do not try to inspect damaged utilities and appliances; contact a professional to do so.
Hurricane season reminds us of the need to be prepared for heavy weather and potential risks. An important part of that preparation is checking your insurance policy to be sure your coverage adequately addresses your current needs. Have you recently reviewed the values of the property covered? Does your policy cover damage from the peril of windstorms? Contact us today to review your current coverage or receive a quote.
For more ideas on how to prepare your entire family for an emergency situation, visit: www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.