Living near the ocean, with its breathtaking views and temperate climate is ordinarily wonderful. However, there’s one big danger associated with coastal living: hurricanes.
Statistics show that 97% of hurricanes in the Atlantic occur between June 1 and October 15. In the Pacific, that date range runs from May 15 to November 30. This means it’s nearly hurricane season!
You can’t stop hurricanes from coming, but you can take steps to minimize the damage. Here are 4 ways to prepare for hurricane season:
1.) Plan your evacuation
The most important things you can protect during any disaster are yourself and your family. The best way to do that in the case of hurricanes is to get to higher ground. Having a plan for your evacuation helps you do just that.
Your plan should include where you’ll go, how you’ll get there, and where you’ll stay once you’re there. Expect hotels and other shelters to fill quickly, so try to identify friends or family you can stay with. Have at least two planned routes in case one becomes blocked.
While planning for a storm, don’t forget to plan for your furry friends. Many shelters will house dogs and cats in an emergency.
2.) Stock your shelter
If you don’t live in an evacuation zone or have the facilities in your house to weather the storm, stock up on essential supplies in case power, water, and other services are cut off. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a list of supplies to include in your disaster preparedness kit. Topping the list are clear essentials: one gallon of water per person for three days, three days (nine meals) of non-perishable food, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit.
Don’t forget a crank-powered or battery-operated radio. Look for a weather-band radio with a cell-phone charging port to keep you connected in case of a power outage.
Be financially prepared, too. If power or communication services are out, your debit and credit cards may not work. Have enough cash around in a safe location so you can use it if necessary to pay for a hotel stay or a week of groceries.
3.) Prepare your home
There are several ways to minimize hurricane damage to your home. Remove dead or dying limbs from trees on your property. Reinforce gutters and downspouts to minimize water damage.
Consider reinforcing the windows and doors, including the garage door. You may want to install shutters or tracking hardware to facilitate the addition of reinforcements.
4.) Check your documents
Review insurance documents with your agent annually to make sure you have sufficient coverage. Also, keep an itemized list of valuables in your home. Take pictures wherever possible.
Make copies of all your important identifying information. Keep originals or hard copies of all important documents in a secure location, like a safe deposit box.