Preparing for Hurricane Season
Hurricanes destroy property and they devastate lives. Every hurricane season, people who live in hurricane areas need to prepare for the possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane.
According the National Hurricane Center, the best way to protect life and property is to prepare for hurricanes in advance. And, make sure you follow those plans when a hurricane is approaching.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15th to November 30th. Here’s a list of things you should do to prepare for the coming hurricane season.
1. Prepare an Evacuation Plan
Number one on any hurricane preparation list must be to plan an evacuation route for you and your family. Find out now if you live in a hurricane evacuation area. If you do, plan your evacuation route before hurricane season arrives.
2. Check Your Insurance
Storm surges can reach levels of over twenty feet. So, even if you don’t live right on the coastline, flooding may be an issue if there is a hurricane. Check that your insurance covers you for flooding. Insurance against flooding is not a standard part of many home insurance policies.
If you are buying a home in a hurricane zone, you will need to ascertain the risk level of your home. For more information on how to assess your risk, read this informative hurricane insurance guide by the personal finance company Bankrate.
3. Make Copies of All Your Important Documents
If you live in a hurricane area, you should make copies of important documents. Keep the copies in a safe place that won’t be affected by a hurricane. The copy documents should include proof of ownership of your home and other valuable possessions. You may need this if your home and property are destroyed.
4. Keep an Inventory of Your Personal Property
Included with your important documents there should be an inventory of your possessions. This will help you ensure that you have the right level of insurance cover, and it will speed up an insurance claim. It can also be useful if need to apply for disaster aid.
5. Keep Your Gas Tank Topped Up
There will be long lines at the gas stations if there is hurricane alert. Keep your gas tank at least ¾ full during hurricane season. Then, you won’t have to stop for gas if you need to evacuate quickly.
6. Back Up Your Computers
Backup important data on your computers and store it in a safe off-site location. If you get into the habit of doing this, it will be one less thing to worry about if there is a hurricane alert.
7. Take Steps to Protect Your Home
Keeping your home in good repair will help protect it against hurricane damage. A loose board or damaged roof could get caught by the high storm winds and cause more damage.
You should also think about what you keep in your yard. Anything that could be picked up by the wind could become a missile in a hurricane. Here are the steps to take to protect your home:
- Ensure That All Exterior Doors are Hurricane Proof
Make sure that all external doors are strong and have three strong hinges. Check the locks on the external doors too. They should be dead bolts that are at least one inch long.
- Trim Back Trees and Shrubs
Weak tree branches and overgrown shrubbery will get blown around in a storm. Flying debris causes a lot of damage in a hurricane. Cut back trees and keep shrubbery well-trimmed to reduce this risk.
- Replace Gravel with Woodchips
Rocks and gravel are another thing that can get whipped up by the powerful winds of a hurricane. If you have gravel and rocks, it would be better to replace it with woodchip or shredded bark, which won’t cause so much damage.
- Install a Storm Proof Garage Door
If the wind gets in through your garage door, it could damage your home. Make sure you have a garage door that will resist wind pressure and impacts from flying debris.
- Install Storm Shutters
Install storm shutters on all your windows. Or, buy plywood panels and have them ready-cut to size in preparation for a hurricane.
- Seal Outside Wall Openings
Make sure that any outside openings into your home are sealed. Things like ventilation grills and openings where wires go into the house. Sealing openings like these will prevent both water and the wind getting in.
- Make Sure That Patio Doors are Made of Tempered Glass
Large sliding glass doors are more susceptible to damage from high winds. They should be protected by storm shutters or plywood, and they should be made of tempered glass.
- Clear Garden Furniture and Tools from Your Yard if a Storm is Approaching
Look around your yard and think about what might get picked up by the wind in a hurricane. Store anything that could go flying around in hurricane inside a building.
8. Prepare an Emergency Survival Kit
Preparing a hurricane survival kit in advance will save you having to rush around when there is a hurricane warning. The stores will run out of essential items fast if there is a hurricane warning.
You will need to think about what you will need if you can stay in your home, as well as what you will need if must evacuate. Keep your hurricane emergency kit in a waterproof container.
Here’s a list of the basic things that every hurricane preparedness kit should contain:
- First aid kit
- Battery operated or hand-crank NOAA weather radio
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Candles or lamps
- Three-day supply of drinking water
- Food that doesn’t need refrigeration or cooking
- A supply of any prescription drugs that you may need
- Tools and materials for emergency repairs
- Local maps
- Emergency whistle to attract attention
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