Hurricane season runs from June 1 through the end of November. With the start of the season, we’ve put together some ways to prepare for any storms that may come this year:
- Map out an evacuation route
Secure a community hurricane preparedness plan through your local emergency management office or Red Cross chapter. Make sure to fill your gas tanks, as you may have to travel long distances to find a hotel or shelter.
- Have an out-of-state contact
Identify an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the official family contact point, and be sure all family members have this person’s contact information to check in following the storm.
- Identify meeting places
In case family members are separated during a disaster, identify two places to meet: one right outside your home and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of your second meeting place.
- Have a plan in place for your pets
Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate. Understand that most shelters and hotels will not allow them on the property, so it is critical to determine early on where to house them during a pending storm. Photograph them and make sure they are wearing identification collars in case you lose them during the storm.
- Protect valuables from water damage
Photograph and/or videotape both the interior and exterior of your home for a record of all valuables. Make sure to store originals of important documents, including birth certificates, banking and credit card information and medical records in a waterproof container as well.
- Use different forms of communication
Purchase a battery-operated AM/FM radio and/or battery-operated television to keep updated on events. Since telephones may be out of order when the storm hits, weather radio will be your best source of information. However, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and have a phone charger in the car in case land lines are out for an extended period.
- Stock Emergency Supplies
Your emergency supply list should include items such as a first aid kit, non-perishable food items, fresh water, flashlights, extra blankets, any special medications needed and a fire extinguisher.
- Protect your property
Close and board up windows with half-inch marine plywood and make sure to remove all outside antennas. Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood and clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Know how to shut off your utilities
In the event that electricity is lost, be sure to turn the main switches in the circuit breaker box to the off position. Make sure all household appliances are turned off, as no one may be home when power is restored. Appliances left on could cause a fire when power returns.
- Review and understand insurance coverage
It is important to understand what your policy coverage’s are for hurricane and flood damage.
Are damages from fallen trees covered? What will happen if your home is flooded from rain? Contact your agent for more information about your policy and if you need additional coverages, ask them about the National Flood Insurance Program, which is designed to provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves when catastrophe strikes.
If a storm comes your way, remember to call a professional restoration company like ServiceMaster by ARTec to help clean up and remediate the damage. Keep our number handy: 610-626-9002