While the spring season brings warmer weather and new life, it also brings an increased risk of hurricanes to the east and west coasts. The hurricane season for both coasts begins in late May to early June and does not end until November. Hurricanes are very powerful storms that can cause devastating damage and it is important for people who live in areas prone to hurricanes to be prepared and know what to do if one lands in their area.
The following are hurricane preparedness checklist and safety tips.
Find a Safe Location:
Decide on a safe location for you and your family to wait out the storm. This location could be within your home if you have a windowless room on your bottom floor. If there is not a safe area in your home, you should find at least two emergency shelters close by. Residents with certain health needs that may not be able to reach the shelter on their own can call their county in advance for assistance.
Food and Water Supplies:
Food and water are the most important supplies to gather before a storm and your supply should contain enough non-perishable food items and water to last for about three weeks. If you are forced to evacuate, you should leave with enough food for about three days.
Emergency Supply Kit:
In addition to a food supply, you should also gather supplies that will help in emergency situations. These items should include but are not limited to the following:
- Can opener
- Medications, eyeglasses, contact lenses
- Personal hygiene items
- Change of clothes
- First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer and eating utensils
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Blankets and pillows
- 2 coolers, one for food and one for ice
- Tools and plastic tarp
Prepare your Home:
When a storm is one its way, you must prepare your home for it before the rains starts falling. Installing the following will help your home survive the storm:
- Install hurricane shutters or plywood boards at least 3/4 inch thick over each window. If you use boards, installing anchors and pre-drilling holes will allow you to put them up quickly.
- Install head and foot bolts on all doors
- Install straps or clips to help hold the roof and walls of your home in place
- Remove any lose debris from your yard so that it is not blown around by high-speed winds
Double check your homeowner’s insurance to see if it includes windstorm coverage. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding so you might want to consider adding flood insurance which is available from the federal government.
In the event of a forced evacuation, make sure to have an established plan and share that plan with your family. Your vehicles should have at least a half tank of gas at all times throughout hurricane season because the wait at gas stations as a storm approaches can be very long. It helps to have an out-of-state contact to meet up with out of the path of the storm and if you do not have a contact in a surrounding state, establish a meeting place for your family at least 50 miles inland.
By following these hurricane preparedness tips, you can give your home and family the best chance of surviving the storm with minimal damage. The top priority is the safety of you and your family over the safety of your home and possessions. If your home is damaged by a hurricane, there are water damage restoration professionals that can help restore your home and salvage your personal belongings. However, you should not return to your home until officials have cleared your area.
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