Hurricanes can have devastating results on those who are not prepared. Don't wait for a Hurricane to develop before you begin emergency preparations. Take steps ahead of time to help reduce the risk of damage to your home and prevent injury to you and your family. Here are tips to follow for Hurricane preparedness:
- Review your insurance coverage to ensure that you have the right amount of protection should you ever need to rebuild after a storm.
- Trim trees and shrubbery. Cut all weak branches and trees that might possible fall on your home.
- When replacing existing windows, consider installing impact resistant windows.
- Install impact-resistant shutters which can be closed over existing windows to reduce the risk of glass breakage.
- Patio doors or sliding glass doors are extremely susceptible to damage from high winds. Consider boarding these doors and when replacing use impact-resistant doors.
Hurricane Watch - this indicates that a hurricane may threaten your area within 36-48 hours.
- Tune into advisories on the TV or radio. Official announcements and special instructions will be announced this way and should always be taken seriously.
- Check your emergency supplies and make sure your flashlights and portable radio work and that you have enough batteries, water and canned goods. Also, gather the tools and materials that you might need to fix leaks or to use as shutters.
- Fill your car's gas tank. You will need gas if you have to evacuate and at that point, it is likely that the gas stations will have lost power due to the storm.
- Bring in all items from outside of your house, such as lawn furniture and toys, which could potentially be dangerous as flying objects. Make sure sheds and similar detached structures are secured.
Hurricane Warning - means that a hurricane is expected to hit your area within 24 hours.
- Board or shutter glass windows to protect them from wind pressure. Select one window or door on the side of your house opposite the prevailing wind that you can open to reduce pressure, if necessary.
- Check your supplies one more time and fill your bathtub with extra water. Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting. Much of the food will remain edible for days if the power goes out.
During the Hurricane
- Find shelter immediately and evacuate motor vehicles or motor homes. The safest place is an inside room or the center of a room.
- To reduce pressure, open a window or door on the opposite side of your house facing the wind. Then stay away from all windows.
- Turn off electricity if flooding begins and keep the refrigerator door closed to conserve food.
- Beware of the calm "eye" of the storm that can pass over your home, causing the wind to drop to near calm for as long as a half-hour. Stay indoors during this time because the wind will still return and possibly with greater force.
Make a Plan
Take the time to ensure your family's safety during the storm. Time is of the essence once a warning is announced, and you'll want to prepare in advance.
Select the best place to gather your family during a hurricane. Determine the best escape routes and confirm the location of the nearest shelters.
Keep emergency numbers by the phone including police, fire, ambulance, and schools.
Make copies of important documents such as; Will, Mortgage, Insurance Policies, Insurance Cards. Place these in a waterproof container so they can be accessible and easily transported should you need to leave your home.
Stock emergency supplies. You should have enough food and water for your family and pets for 3-4 days. Store water in clean plastic containers and avoid glass or empty bleach or detergent bottles. Keep in mind that adults need a minimum of 1 quart of water per day to survive.
When stocking food, aim to have a full week's supply of canned food that requires little water and can be eaten with little or no preparation. For adult's have 4-6 cans of food per person per day. Don't forget the manual can opener! Remember that infants and those with illnesses will require special foods.
Additional Supplies to have on Hand:
- Battery-powered radio and flashlights (with extra batteries for both)
- Tools, blankets and clothing
- Fire extinguisher, candles and matches
- A pail with cover, boards, plastic sheeting and tape
- Any special medications like insulin and heart tablets
Rewpair loose boards, shingles and shutters and all other things that could become a greater problem in high wind.
After the Storm
- Stay calm and don't panic. Check to be sure all family members and pets are safe, and administer first aid if necessary. Locate all of your survival supplies.
- Stay at home unless ordered to evacuate the area, and listen to your batery-operated or car radio for emergency instructions. Do not drive!
- Check all utilities and turn them off if you suspect damage. Do not turn them back on yourself. Typically, you can turn your gas and water shut-offs with the same wrench. In case electric wires are shorting or if you suspect there is damaged or wet wiring, turn off the main switch.
- If you smell gas, open the windows, turn off the main valve and don't use lights or appliances until the gas has dissipated. Call your gas company to restore service after the storm.
- Stay way from damaged or weakened walls and wear shoes around all debris.
- Keep all family members and pets away from fallen power lines.
Tips provided by The Hanover Insurance Group