It’s been said that it’s never too late to be prepared. Now that the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season is upon us, from June 1 to November 30, it’s important to be ready for what may come. Here are some helpful hurricane preparedness tips.
- Plan your evacuation route. Hurricanes are violent storms that create storm surge by force of wind. They pose dangers for those who live in coastal areas or regions prone to flooding. Hurricanes often produce high winds, pounding rain, spawn tornados, or cause other serious weather conditions that can also be a danger for those who live inland as well. Since personal safety and the security of those you love is of primary importance, it’s a good idea to sit down with family members or friends to plan for evacuation in the event of a hurricane. Discussions should include details of the evacuation, such as who is driving and where to meet, and an evacuation destination should be selected. Also have a backup plan. For example, option one may include staying with a relative in another state. Option two is to head to a hotel that is safely outside of the evacuation zone. Should you know your evacuation dates in advance, and you plan to take shelter at a hotel, it is advised to make reservations for your stay. It’s also important to know which official routes and alternate routes are available. Be sure that automobiles are in good working condition and have gas. Should you lack money or a plan, or hope to stay in a community shelter, contact the local government authorities in your area or FEMA to gain information. Or, consider other sources for evacuation, such as church or social groups, who may arrange group departures by bus or vans.
- Pack an evacuation kit. Be prepared with essentials that you’ll need for your trip. Since the possibility of damage to your residence and contents inside are real, irreplaceable valuables should be taken with you. During an evacuation, always bring your pet(s) along and never leave them behind to fend for themselves. Also take along your passports, birth certificates, important financial documents, insurance policies, and more. Documents should be kept together in a waterproof container and be easy to access for quick departures. Be sure to secure them at your destination. Also, regularly back up important information on computers and know your passwords. Your evacuation kit should include fresh water, non-perishable foods, and pet food, a battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio, flashlights, and batteries, first aid kit and supply, face masks, hand sanitizer, and more. Individual family members should pack cash, changes of clothes and footwear, prescription medicine, glasses, and contact lenses, diapers and infant formula, and anything they may need during their brief absence from home. Visit Fema.gov for a full list of supplies to have on hand during an evacuation.
- Prepare the home. Cutting branches and trees away from the house, bringing in outdoor furniture, decluttering rainspouts, using storm shutters, and sealing exposed areas can help secure properties during a hurricane. Replacing old garage doors and tracking, covering glass doors and/or windows with plywood, and making sure exterior doors are hurricane proof are more examples of tasks that can decrease risks of damage to your home. People who live in mobile homes should understand that these structures are considered unsafe during a storm. Folks with boats on a trailer may be expected to anchor the trailer to the ground or house and review their boat insurance policies. Secure possessions you cannot take with you in an interior room away from windows.
- A home is often the largest investment people make, so it’s important to protect it with insurance. Be sure to maintain insurance on your property and stay timely with payments. Also understand what hazards are covered under your homeowner’s policy. In some cases, a standard homeowners’ policy may fall short of covering some damage, so it’s helpful to make sure you are prepared for all possible scenarios. Hurricane, wind, water, and flood coverage are generally important for people who have homes in high-risk areas. Policies vary between insurance companies. Some homeowners may need to purchase a rider or separate insurance to cover losses from hurricanes. It’s important to talk to a qualified insurance agent regarding types of coverage available and to make sure that what you have meets your needs. Be sure to understand cost and deductibles involved and shop around if needed for the best rates. Also, consider insuring high value items kept in the home, such as jewelry and antiques. It is generally not a good idea to ignore evacuation warnings. Remember that your life is more valuable than anything you own. In addition, failing to evacuate could hinder recovery and put you and others in danger.
Hurricanes are major storms that can do a great deal of damage. In some cases, there is little notice of an impending storm. Not only is it essential to stay on top of real-time alerts from the National Weather Service, but it is equally important to have a plan to avoid chaos or unexpected glitches. Knowing what to do in an emergency can deliver a lot of peace during times of instability.
This article is purely informational. More specific guidance can be accessed at the FEMA and other state and local websites.