Hurricane Season Has Arrived
June 1st marked the official open of hurricace season. Hurricanes cause billions of dollars of damage every storm season. Home owners who have property in the danger zone need to prepare in advance in order to not only protect their family, but their home as well. Having a structured plan in place can mean the difference between saving life and property, or losing everything. Read on to learn some basic ways to make sure you are ready in the case of a storm.
A hurricane is nothing to take lightly; it’s critical that you have a plan in place long before the storm hits. Your plan should include such subjects as insurance, evacuation plans, emergency contacts and home preparedness. Having a thoughtfully constructed checklist easily available and communicated to family members ahead of any storms can make a dangerous storm less damaging.
The choice about whether you stay home during a hurricane or evacuate is a personal decision and should be based on the storm itself, what local authorities are saying and the location of the home. Determine ahead of time how you and your family will handle the subject of evacuation. Create an emergency plan which includes not only timelines for evacuation, but where to meet family members.
Hurricane winds often quickly take down cell phone towers and power lines making it difficult or impossible to contact family members. Have a pre-determined meeting place and an emergency contact system in place. Consider asking a family member or friend out-of-state to be the point of contact for family members to ensure no one is lost or stranded.
Fortunately most of the time there is some warning that a hurricane is coming, but not always. Even with notice, it’s dangerous to rely on finding the emergency and home preparedness supplies you need once the notice has been given at local stores. Keep these items on hand so that you can quickly prepare your home for the approaching storm.
• Windows – If your budget permits, consider replacing existing windows with high-impact glass which are built to withstand strong winds. Inexpensive plywood will protect windows and is easy to store along a garage wall.
• Doors – Doors should be examined for loose hinges. Experts suggest adding deadbolts to provide extra strength against strong winds.
• Roof – New housing codes now require hurricane straps or clips to hold the roof in place during a hurricane. Older homes should be retrofitted with these protections and be installed by a professional contractor.
• Yard – Take special care of your trees and branches. Remove or trim anything which can fall on the home and cause damage.
Have a conversation with your insurance agent and understand what level of coverage you have. If your home is destroyed, will your home owner’s insurance cover the cost of rebuilding and living arrangements while the home is rebuilt? If not, what options are available to ensure you have the coverage you need.
These are just a few reminders to get you started. There are many more ways to prepare for an advancing hurricane. Power generators, water pumps, off-site storage are just a few more ideas to allow you and your home to survive the storm.