Preparing Your Household for a Hurricane
Hurricanes can cause a tremendous amount of death and destruction. Longtime residents of coastal Florida, the Carolinas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are familiar with the drill - but there are always procrastinators.
Hurricane preparedness takes time. Don't leave it to the last minute. Here are some things to keep in mind when a storm is coming:
- Maintain situational awareness. Keep an eye on national and local media and monitor developing weather systems.
- Track the projected path of storms, using websites like National Hurricane Center (www.nhc.noaa.gov) and follow news reports.
- Do a risk assessment for your home. Assess vulnerability to storm surge, wind damage, and flooding.
- Plan on at least a three-day wait before substantial government assistance is in place after a hurricane. FEMA can't put its trucks and trailers in the direct path of the storm. It takes at least time for state and FEMA resources to be put in place.
- Cut down any large trees overhanging your house and garage. The tree could fall, taking out part of your house.
- Expect a run on hurricane supplies in the last 48 hours before the storm. Buy your batteries, bottled water, fuel cans, generators and other supplies before you need them.
- Invest in hardened windows, shutters and doors.
- Failing that, buy your plywood well ahead of time, along with a drill and screws to board up your windows.
- Obey evacuation orders. If you receive an evacuation order, you are getting it because the authorities know they will not be able to reach you in an emergency. Leave early if you can to avoid gridlock on the roads leaving town. Remember: Many people in coastal communities are killed by hurricanes when they ignore orders to evacuate.
- Keep your homeowner's or renter's coverage updated with the current replacement value of your home and belongings.
- Inventory your belongings. You can apps like: Sortly (available for iOS and Android phones), Memento Database (available for iOS and Android phones) and Nest Egg (for iOS only). These resources are free or very low cost and will facilitate compensation from your insurance company if your home is damaged or destroyed by a weather event.
- Keep fuel in your car. Many times, gas stations run out of fuel in the day or so before a storm. If you can't fuel your vehicle, you can't evacuate. And you may not be able to function.
- Get a functional battery-operated radio. Don't count on cell phones working for a number of days after a storm.
- You may be without power for as long as two weeks and sometimes longer. Keep nonperishables, batteries and flashlights.
- Keep your generator outdoors. Every year, people die from carbon monoxide poisoning because they moved their generator indoors to keep it from being stolen.
- Understand your generator's capacity. Generators have a limited load. This is especially important to know when you start up electrical items connected to the generator, because startups cause a spike in electrical demand.
- Know your neighbors. Your neighbors may have a harder time preparing or evacuating from storms than you do, because of frailty, disability, young children, poverty or lack of reliable transportation.
- Know your community emergency management contacts.
- Don't underestimate tropical storms. Just because it's not a hurricane doesn't mean it can't do a lot of damage locally. Tropical storms can dump as much rain as a hurricane.
By understanding these guidelines, you can protect your home as well as you can and keep your family safe.
You will also have an easier time getting reimbursed by your insurance company for any damage.
Thank you for visiting the Partners Insurance Agency blog. We hope you found our content helpful and informative.