National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs from May 26th – June 1st, just in time to kick off the beginning of Hurricane season. With more and more hurricane related disasters in the news, it’s important to ensure your home is prepared and to give you the peace of mind that you’re ready to face whatever Mother Nature throws your way!
Here are 4 tips to prepare your home for hurricane season:
#1: Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season in Advance
To prepare for an impending storm, be sure to take the following precautions for it’s too late!
- Learn the elevation of your property and whether or not you’re in a flood zone. If you are, ensure your insurance covers for floods!
- Move all valuables to waterproof storage (preferably on the highest level of your home), or place in safe deposit box.
- Identify any levees and dams in your area that may pose a threat.
- Learn community evacuation routes and procedures.
- Create a family evacuation plan and how to stay in touch in case you’re separated. Be sure to go over this plan repeatedly with all family members.
- Make arrangements/contingency plan for pets.
- Fuel your car in advance, in case of shortages or the need to leave the area quickly.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings in case of power outage- this will help your food keep longer.
- Make list of all property; inside and outside the home.
- Purchase and install generator.
- Create an emergency kit (see Tip #2).
Secure your property:
- Cover windows. Permanent storm shutters are your safest best, but plywood can help in a pinch. One common misconception is that taping windows will provide security. Unfortunately, tape doesn’t prevent breakage, but could prevent glass from flying everywhere should breakage occur.
- Install straps or additional clips to fasten your roof to the frame structure.
- Keep trees and shrubs well trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged gutters.
- Reinforce garage doors.
- Bring in or secure anything outside your home that isn’t tied down. Some have found success with “sinking” furniture if they have a pool.
- Remove outside antennas and satellite dishes.
Tip #2: Create an Emergency Kit
To make sure you and your family are prepared for all eventualities during a storm, it’s important to put together an emergency kit before the storm arrives. Many will be out searching the shelves for non-perishable foods and water at the last minute, but following this roadmap early can help you be ahead of the game.
- Purchase a new or update your First Aid Kit. The Red Cross walks you through what an essential First Aid Kid should contain.
- All prescribed medications for each family member.
- It’s suggested that you have 1 gallon of fresh/bottled water per person, per day.
- Non-perishable food that requires minimal water to prepare.
- Manual can opener – to open any canned food while you’re without electricity.
- Food, medications, leashes, vaccination records and any other necessities for your pets.
- Be sure to have one or more battery powered radios on hand, so you can stay informed if you’re without electricity.
- Purchase or compile multiple flashlights – enough for each member of your family.
- Purchase a stock of batteries (of all sizes) to ensure all of your battery operated appliances, flashlights and radios will continue to function for as long as you’re without power.
- Warm clothes and rain gear for each member of the family, preferably in a waterproof bag or box.
- Blankets/Sleeping bags/Towels, also in waterproof covering.
- Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer, soap, tooth brushes and toothpaste.
- Utility knife, dust masks, trash bags and matches in a waterproof container.
- Map of your local area and compass.
- Keys to your home and car.
- Emergency cash and credit cards.
- Insurance Cards/List of important phone numbers/Driver’s License and any other important documents you may need if forced from your home.
- Photos of family members & pets in case of separation.
Tip #3: During a Storm
Being in the midst of a storm can be frightening, but you can ease your distress by following these tips carefully!
- Listen to radio or TV for information and updates on the storm.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for emergencies.
- Remain indoors.
- Keep all interior doors closed.
- Take refuge in a small interior room on lowest level of your home.
- Avoid elevators.
- In case there is a power outage – unplug all appliances to avoid a surge when it’s restored.
#4: After a Storm
The storm may be over, but for some, the hurricane can leave more problems in its wake than it did as it blew past!
- Continue listening to local news for updates.
- If you’ve become separated from your family, follow the emergency plan determined by your family.
- If evacuated, only return home once you’ve been given the all clear from authorities.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads.
- Keep away from dangling power lines.
- Walk carefully around your property to inspect for damage, loose power lines, gas leaks and any structural damage before re-entering your home.
- Use a battery powered flashlight in the dark.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you’re certain it’s not contaminated.
- Check foods in refrigerator for spoilage.
Bonus Tips to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season:
- For those that truly like to be prepared, DO purchase a Butane Table Top Burner to cook your food (or boil water) if you’re without electricity for less than $40!
- DO NOT use candles or anything with an open flame. If there’s a gas leak, this could lead to a fire or even an explosion!
- DO purchase paper plates and plastic utensils so you don’t need to worry about using water to clean up!
- If you’re out of power for an extended period of time after a storm, consider using your gas grill to cook meals.
- If you happen to own a pop-up tent, it may be beneficial to have it on hand.
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