Calm Before the Storm: Hurricane Preparedness

Written by Blaine Teets

On August 26, 2020

It’s no secret that Atlantic Hurricane Season is in full swing and when a storm takes eyes on your property is not a question of if, but when. The Atlantic Hurricane season runs through June 1 st through November 30 th , which would place us in the peak timeframe for tropical activity. Most homeowners & businesses know simple routines to help mitigate the effects of weather from a Hurricane, but it’s good to have a checklist procedure in place as a storm bears down on your property.

Below are steps you can take to ensure that you are in the best position to fight back against the effects of a Hurricane or Tropical Storm:

 

  1. Review your Insurance Policy. A better understanding of your policy coverages can help identify weaknesses in coverage that pertain to adequately covering your property. You should speak to your agent well ahead and when you see a potential threat. Many carriers place restrictions on changing coverage well in advance of a storm making landfall, so prior planning is essential.
  2. Household Inventory. Take a complete household inventory of your belongings,
    including their values. Anything worth salvaging should be taken into consideration. By taking pictures and holding on to receipts, you can make the claims process go a lot smoother for an enhanced claims experience. Make sure to keep a couple copies handy, preferably a hard copy and one in an information back up; such as the cloud or external hard drive.
  3. Store Important Documents in a Safe and Dry Place. Important documents such as:
    tax items, personal information, insurance policies and other keep sake documents should be placed in waterproof packaging.
  4. Property Preparation. Property maintenance goes a long way in fighting back against
    damages from inclement weather. Below are just a few things to think about before
    disaster strikes:

     

    • Roof condition. Unless your roof is relatively new, it’s always a good idea to get a certified roofer to inspect the condition of your roof to identify any potential leaks that could arise.
    • Tree Maintenance. Make sure that dead or weak tree limbs are pruned back away from your house to eliminate the effects of falling tree debris. It’s also worth noting that a property owner should identify any trees that could potentially be prone to falling. By calling a certified arborist, you can make note of trees on your landscape that can potentially fall due to high winds. Additionally, make sure that your vehicles are parked away from trees that have excess limbs that can fall onto your vehicle.
    • Gutter Check. If you don’t have gutter guards on your property, it’s wise to do an inspection and clear out any debris that may potentially cause a clog in your home gutters. Also, make sure that your gutters and downspouts are securely fastened to your home.
    • Lawn maintenance. Lawn maintenance is not just for looks, but a healthy lawn can serve as a defense mechanism against water. Most homeowner’s landscape is on level ground, but some homeowners that live on lower elevation where rain runoff may flow toward your home. By keeping your lawn healthy and long during Hurricane season; you can use your lawn absorb water and serve as a barrier from excessive rain runoff towards your property’s foundation.
    • Windows & Doors. Make sure all windows are closed and water tight. Overtime, windows and doors can develop cracks where water seepage can occur. If you have a garage, make sure old tracks and garage doors are replaced.
  5. Emergency Supplies. Prior to a hurricane, it’s best to have a check list of non-perishable
    emergency and medical supplies on hand:

     

    • Extra batteries
    • Candles or lamps with fuel
    • Matches (keep these dry)
    • Materials and tools for emergency home repairs–such as heavy plastic sheeting,
      plywood, a hammer, etc.
    • Prescription drugs
    • A three-day supply of drinking water
    • Food that you don’t have to refrigerate or cook
    • First aid supplies
    • A portable NOAA weather radio
    • A wrench and other basic tools
    • A flashlight
  6. Emergency Plan of Evacuation. Many homeowners prefer to ride out a storm at their residence and in most cases, there is no need for evacuation. But, in case an evacuation is necessary; here are some steps to consider:
    • Become familiar with alternate routes. Map out routes in different directions in case travel becomes treacherous or traffic becomes too congested.
    • If you don’t have a car, you should make a plan for how you will leave if you need to evacuate. Talk with family or friends to make transportation arrangements in case of an evacuation. Your local government or aid agencies may also be able to provide assistance.
    • Plan for what you’ll do with your pets, whether you’ll be able to take them with you, leave them with family or friends or take them to a kennel.
    • Keep a road map in your vehicle in case you need to devise an alternate route on unfamiliar roads.
    • Prepare a bag or file with important papers, such as your homeowners insurance policy, and keep the file with you if weather forecasts include the potential for a hurricane.
  7. 48 Hours Prior to Impact
    • Become familiar with alternate routes. Map out routes in different directions in case travel becomes treacherous or traffic becomes too congested.
    • If you don’t have a car, you should make a plan for how you will leave if you need to evacuate. Talk with family or friends to make transportation arrangements in case of an evacuation. Your local government or aid agencies may also be able to provide assistance.
    • Plan for what you’ll do with your pets, whether you’ll be able to take them with you, leave them with family or friends or take them to a kennel.
    • Keep a road map in your vehicle in case you need to devise an alternate route on unfamiliar roads.
    • Prepare a bag or file with important papers, such as your homeowners insurance policy, and keep the file with you if weather forecasts include the potential for a hurricane.
  8. Resources to monitor hurricane paths & forecasts:

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