The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns of another above-normal Atlantic storm season. Disasters don’t wait and neither should you. Face this hurricane season with confidence. Take action to stay safe and prevent storm damage to your home or business property. Review our time-tested readiness plan so you aren’t caught unprepared.
Hurricane Preparedness Planning
1. Stay Informed.
2. Understand the Different Hurricane Alerts
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you understand the severity of the storm headed your direction. This will help you make informed decisions concerning your safety. The National Weather Service will provide one of these alerts on TV, radio, or online:
- Hurricane watch: A hurricane or tropical storm (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) is possible in the next 48 hours. Monitor alerts, check supplies, and gather anything you might need in case of a power outage.
- Hurricane warning: Experts expect a hurricane or tropical storm to hit the area in the next 36 hours. Listen for calls to evacuate and heed those warnings.
There are similar watches and warnings for tropical storms as well as storm surges, so be prepared to respond accordingly.
3. Pack a Supply Bag
Get ready to bug out or stay put. Follow these helpful suggestions:
- Prepare for a power outage. If you have a generator, ensure it is running and get extra gas.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full.
- Create an evacuation plan and know the approved evacuation routes.
- Designate an out-of-state emergency contact. This will be the person everyone in your home contacts if you aren’t together during the storm.
- Select a place where everyone in your household can go in case you need to evacuate and ensure they know how to get there. This can be a nearby FEMA shelter.
- Put together a “bug-out” bag to grab if needed to evacuate. It should be light and portable.
- If you have pets, make sure to include them in your plans with pet-friendly hotels or a family member’s house as a safe place.
- Ready an emergency kit for your home. Consider including:
- Non-perishable food and water (enough for at least three days, a gallon of water per person per day)
- Extra clothes
- Cell phone
- Solar charger
- Medicines. Know how to store them safely, especially if they need refrigeration.
- First aid kit
- Important documents (passports, birth certificates, etc.)
- Toiletries and personal hygiene supplies
- Protective gear
- Waterproof boots
- Irreplaceable items that are also light and portable, such as a child’s favorite stuffed animal or your wedding photo.
- Consider purchasing an emergency kit that includes many of the items above.
4. Prepare Your Home
- Check for loose shutters or screens. Tighten them as needed.
- Trim back wayward trees.
- Secure loose wires and cables.
- Remove debris from downspouts and gutters.
- Inspect your roof, and repair loose shingles.
- Use caulk to seal doors and windows.
- Test sump pumps and clear exterior drains of debris.
- Test generators and ensure you have extra fuel available.
- Store lightweight items such as toys and patio furniture. Secure any objects remaining outside as they can become projectiles in high winds.
- If you live in a flood area, consider placing sandbags around your home’s perimeter.
- Protect windows and doors by covering them with plywood or hurricane shutters.
5. Review Insurance Policies with Your Agent
Call your insurance agent and request an insurance check-up to ensure you have enough home insurance to repair or replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat. Remember, most home insurance does not cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you will need a separate policy for that. They are available through your insurance agent or the National Flood Insurance Program at floodsmart.gov. Act now as most flood insurance requires a thirty-day waiting period.