Hurricane Preparedness for Storm Season
Hurricanes can stretch for hundreds of miles and leave you vulnerable to major losses and significant damage. Storm preparedness starts with having the right insurance to ensure that your home and assets are properly protected. A review of your insurance policy documents is suggested to confirm wind and flood coverage is included – additionally, there are steps you can take to increase your safety and minimize loss.
Before a Hurricane
Protect Your Family
Make sure you have access to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio broadcasts:
Pack a safety kit with basic requirements such as:
- Supplies of food, water, necessary medications, and cash.
- Extra clothing – in case you must evacuate.
- Flashlights, cell phones, portable radios and extra batteries, solar charging panel as it may take some time for power to be restored.
- A first aid kit.
- Include a plan for your pets.
- Have enough supplies for your household, include medication, disinfectant supplies, masks, pet supplies in your to-go bag or car trunk.
- If you have larger animals such as horses, have a plan for where you can take them. Some coastal communities have higher ground designated for larger grazing animals.
Protect Your Home
- Cover windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half-inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.
- Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools, and trash cans that are away from stairs and exits to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on your awnings.
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors in your home.
- Turn off utilities – if told to do so by authorities – to prevent damage to your home or within the community. If you shut off your gas, a professional is required to turn it back on.
- Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage from possible power surges.
- Keep all vehicles well-fueled in case of evacuation, as power failures render gas pumps inoperable.
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe deposit box – you may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged if a hurricane causes flooding.
- Take a few minutes to document the contents of your home with digital pictures or video and create a room-by-room inventory list, if possible.
During a Hurricane
- Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Do NOT use candles.
- Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radio, or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
- Avoid contact with floodwater – it may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.
- Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
- If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater.
- Do not walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. Turn around. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
After a Hurricane
Follow Safety Guidelines after the Storm has Passed.
- If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Please keep all receipts for out-of-pocket expenses.
- Continue listening to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
Return Home Safely
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines. Report them to the power company immediately.
- Do not wade in floodwater, which can contain dangerous pathogens that cause illnesses, debris, chemicals, waste, and wildlife. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Inspect your home's structure and utilities and systems after a hurricane.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Take pictures of home damage, both of the buildings and their contents, for insurance purposes.
- Notify Lenox Advisors right away if you believe you will have a claim to file.
Source: https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes, https://www.redcross.org/