Before hurricane season each year, it’s important to have a plan in place. The impact of hurricanes can be felt hundreds of miles inland from the coast and every homeowner needs to be prepared long before the threat of storms arrive.
Create a Plan
The first step in being prepared for a hurricane is to have a plan. Hurricane plans vary based on the individual, however there are a few key steps that will be helpful for everyone. Keeping emergency phone numbers in your cell phone and near phones in your home is one way to keep you and your family safe. Another important step is making sure you have an emergency supply kit. Know where the nearest shelter is and the different routes you may need to take in order to get there in case of flooding and other unforeseen events. If the shelters in your area haven’t been identified, then research how to find them before storm is approaching. Visit the website of your local municipality because usually they will have a guide for resources. In the event of a hurricane, local government will issue evacuation orders. While following local government’s orders is the best course of action, it’s always a good idea to create your own evacuation plan ahead of time so you know what to gather and where you will be going. Some people like to be even more prepared by taking a trial run to the nearest shelter.
If you are a pet owner, you also need to have a plan in place for your furry friends. Check to see what shelters or hotels are pet-friendly or if you have an out-of-town relative or friend that can take your pet in the event you need to evacuate.
Get Your Emergency Kit Ready
There are certain supplies you need during a hurricane in order to keep your family healthy and safe. Your municipalities water supply and power could be out for a duration of time. You also may not be able to drive if roads are blocked or flooded. Therefore it’s extremely important to have supplies on hand. Supplies you should have include:
- Emergency water and food supply
- Emergency medicine supply
- Safe power sources, such as flashlights with extra batteries
- Personal and safety items
- Important documents, including personal identification, medical documents, passports, and wills
- A fire extinguisher
You want to have enough supplies for at least a three-day duration. When it comes to food supplies, there are some things to keep in mind. Choosing foods that don’t require any cooking, water, or refrigeration, have a long storage life, and aren’t spicy or salty are best. Salty and spicy food could increase the need for drinking water and a water or heat source is not always guaranteed during power outages caused by hurricanes. Make sure to keep your prescriptions drugs on hand and refill them ahead of time. Keep in mind the needs of family members that are on special diets as well. You should have a gallon of water for each day for each person and pet. Regularly check each item, especially batteries and food, for any upcoming expiration dates, and make sure that your items are safe for consumption. You should regularly replenish your stash as necessary.
Get Your Home Ready
Whether you are going to stay home or evacuate, your home needs to be prepared for a hurricane. Make sure the yard is clear and there isn’t anything that can be lifted off the ground during the storm and damage not only your home but your neighbors’ property as well. Move everything, including building materials, propane tanks, grills, lawn furniture, bikes, and toys, inside or under shelter.
Making sure your windows can handle hurricane-force winds is another important part of getting your home ready. It’s best to use hurricane shutters instead of traditional plywood on all outside windows and other openings to protect the house. This will keep you safe from pieces of glass and other debris. It’s not only important to secure windows, but also doors. Your garage door can be the most vulnerable. Sliding glass doors can also be more vulnerable to wind damage than other doors. Our team can help you choose the right shutter for your home’s protection and help you install them!
It’s possible to lose your water supply during a hurricane so fill up some clean water containers in advance with drinking water. You can also fill up bathtubs and sinks with water for cleaning.
Lastly, in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, check the battery in your home’s detectors regularly. This can be very important if you are using a generator to power your home.
Review Insurance Policies
Making sure the structure of your home has adequate insurance coverage to repair or rebuild your home is a must. The cost to rebuild or repair the home can depend on several factors and it’s often not the same as the real estate’s value. There may be a hurricane or windstorm deductible so it’s important to know what you may need to pay. There are also some disasters that your insurance policy might not cover. For example, many home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.
Your home insurance will likely cover the cost of temporary living expenses while your home is being repaired in the event that it is damaged in the storm. Make sure your insurance is up to date before a hurricane hits, instead of dealing with the aftereffects of not having enough insurance coverage.
Taking inventory of your personal property will ensure that you have enough coverage to replace possessions in your home. Having this inventory list can also help speed up your claim process and is important should you need to apply for state or federal aid. Having pictures and videos where possible is also helpful. Take this inventory list with you if you need to evacuate or store it digitally for easy access.
Prepare Your Car
Your car should also be ready before the storm hits. Fill up the gas tank and move your car into the garage or under cover. You should also have an emergency kit for your car that includes:
- Reflective triangle or flare
- Jumper cables
- Car cell phone charger
If you don’t have a car then you should consider making plans with family or friends if you need a ride in order to evacuate.
Be Ready to Stay Home or Evacuate
Always listen to authorities when it comes to the decision to evacuate or stay home. You should never ignore an order to evacuate. Even a well-built and sturdy home may not hold up against severe hurricanes. Staying to protect your property is not worth risking your safety and health. However, sometimes it can also be safer to stay home, especially if there are dangerous driving conditions.
If you are evacuating, take what you really need from your emergency supply kit with you, such as identification, cash, medicines, and cell phone chargers. Unplug your appliances and, if there is time, turn off utilities, such as water, electricity, and gas. Follow the roads that are recommended, even if they are backed up by traffic. Other alternative routes may be flooded or blocked. You should never drive through flooded areas. It only takes about six inches of water for cars to be swept away.
If you are going to stay home, move your emergency kit to a place where it can be easily accessible. Listen to the radio for updates on the hurricane. Even if your windows are protected, you want to stay away from windows by going to a room with no windows or inside a closet. Stay inside, even if the weather looks calm. Weather can be calm in a storm and then get worse again quickly. Wait for an official message that the hurricane is over before you venture outside. Even after deciding to stay home, you should still be prepared to leave at any moment, especially if your home is damaged during the storm.
Contact Home Safety Solutions for Hurricane Preparedness
The most important part about preparing for a hurricane is to do it ahead of time. Having hurricane shutters or panels installed and ready to go before a storm approaches is one of the best things you can do in order to protect your home and family. Knowing how to deploy this protection ahead of time is just one less step you have to worry about when hurricanes are approaching. The experts at Home Safety Solutions are here to help you decide which hurricane protection solutions are right for your home and provide cost-effective options to feel secure. Get in touch with our team!