The start of summer also means the start of hurricane season, running from June 1st through November 30th. Meteorologists love to make predictions about how many hurricanes will make landfall and their potential severity. Unless you live in a high-risk area that could be directly impacted, you don’t necessarily pay attention. However, as we have witnessed in recent years, hurricanes can travel upward through non-coastal states causing flooding and wind damage. 2017 brought us several devastating and deadly hurricanes, like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, that left paths of destruction through Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean that will likely impact those areas forever.
We may hear weeks in advance that a potential hurricane or tropical storm is brewing, or it can develop overnight. It may start as a tropical storm warning then suddenly is a named a hurricane. With 2018’s season looming, here are some precautions you can take to be better prepared.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, it’s important to know your flood zone. This will help you understand how vulnerable you are to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Please refer to the FEMA website for more information.
- Develop and maintain a family disaster plan.
- Review your insurance policies. Make sure it includes wind and hail coverage. For more information on purchasing or renewing flood insurance, refer to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
- Have a plan for your pets. They are not permitted in American Red Cross shelters, so plan early so your pet will be cared for in the event of an emergency.
- Prepare and maintain an emergency supply kit. In should include non-perishable food items and batteries. Make sure it will last up to two weeks after a hurricane.
- Take pictures or a video inside and outside your home including your personal belongings.
- Keep important documents in a safe place, preferably a waterproof container.
Once there is a threat of a hurricane, you’ll need to keep abreast of its progress. Listen to the radio or TV for the latest track of the storm, familiarize yourself with the evacuation route, and keep your gas tank full because gas shortages are very common during an evacuation. Since ATMs may not be working if the power goes out, be sure you have cash on hand. Lastly, if you take medication, make sure your prescriptions are filled in advance.
Here are some mitigation tips to protect your home.
- Protect doors and windows with shutter gables and vents to keep water out. Garages should also be shuttered or braced.
- Secure roof shingles. Identify and fix missing, broken, or damaged shingles before a storm is imminent. Use a licensed contractor to assist.
- Seal holes, cracks, and openings where wires, cables, and pipes enter your home with caulk.
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and remove yard objects.
- Make sure your generator is working properly. Have extra fuel on hand to help keep it going during and after a hurricane or storm.
Following these steps can help you, your family, and your home stay safe. If you are facing a catastrophic event, it’s best to follow the advice of your local law enforcement if an evacuation is necessary. Safety should always be your first priority!
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