Getting Yourself Prepared for a Hurricane
A step by step on what to do next
By: Alexandra Sirocky
Picture this: You never received the memo for the morning meeting and you show up to work fully unprepared to present the findings from your department. Let me take a guess what goes through your mind: stress, frustration, regret, the feeling of being caught off guard, and a wish to go back in time and get more prepared. That’s one of the most defeating things that can happen to any of us, the feeling of being unprepared when you know you could’ve been.
Move that same concept over to storm season and protecting your family and your property. You want to be prepared in the case of a hurricane so you feel confident that you’re ready for whatever comes your way. A little extra planning beforehand can help you and your family out in the long run. Let’s break down all the steps to get you prepared for when a hurricane hits.
Take inventory of your personal property
In the case of a disaster, it’s imperative that you have evidence of your belongings and that you can refer to this master list during the claims process. If you have plans to move soon, now is the best time to go through all of your belongings and take photos, gather receipts and appraise your valuables. If you aren’t moving soon or you’re in a pinch for time, simplify that process. Go through the house with a camera or your phone and take a video of all your belongings. In this video, state where, when and how much everything was purchased for. Gather important receipts from larger purchases and keep everything in an easily accessible file. Go the extra mile and keep a second, electronic version of this file handy in the case of an emergency.
Review your insurance policies
Before a storm hits, make sure to review your insurance policies so you fully understand the coverages. If you have any questions about your current policy coverages or would like to make changes to your policy, contact your insurance professional as soon as you can. It’s important to have both a hard copy and an electronic copy of the policy saved for quick reference. We also recommend that you save the contact information of your agent, public adjuster, and insurance company in your phone so it’s easily accessible in the case of an emergency. You can always contact our office for a free policy review.
Take steps to protect your assets
During a hurricane, high-speed winds and water can be the main cause of property damage. If you have a general flooding concern, place sandbags around your property to limit the water damage. Seal any outside wall openings and reinforce your windows and doors with storm shutters, tempered glass and plywood panels. Cut any loose or weak branches, shrubbery or tree’s that could cause potential damage to your property. Protect what you can, as best you can.
Plan an evacuation route
In the case you need to evacuate during a hurricane, know what your plan is. Every coastal city has an evacuation plan set in place for emergencies, so check with your local municipality to find out your local evacuation route well before disaster strikes. If you have animals, make sure to plan for them too by locating the nearest shelter.
Keep non-perishable supplies on hand
Don’t wait until there’s a hurricane warning, get these supplies ahead of time to beat the last minute rush to the store. Keep stock of foods that don’t need to be cooked or refrigerated, a five-day water supply, candles and/or fuel lamps, extra pet food, matches and/or lighters, flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, fully charged battery banks, any prescription medications, a basic tool kit and any materials for emergency home repairs. It’s also important to get sleeping bags or blankets ready along with a portable weather radio to keep you updated in case the power goes out.
Get a “Go Bag” ready
In the case you are ordered to evacuate, make sure to have a bag packed and ready to go within six hours of the storm making landfall. Gather toiletries and medications, a few pairs of extra clothing, supplies for your pets and any other important items and documents. Have those hard to replace documents like your social security cards and birth certificates easily accessible to grab and put in your bag.
Other important information to help prepare you for a catastrophe:
- If you’ve been ordered to evacuate, you MUST evacuate. Don’t try and stay behind. These situations can mean life or death and it’s extremely important to follow all mandated evacuation orders for the safety of you and your family.
- Never drive into rushing or flooding water. Don’t Drown, Turn Around!
- Make sure your gas tank is completely full a day or two before a hurricane is about to make landfall.
- Stay calm. People can be frantic and in a rush during a storm but try not to panic. When you are calm, you can think more clearly.
- In closing, don’t wait until a hurricane watch is issued because it may already be too late to take these necessary precautions to prepare your family and your assets. Remember, storms happen! Stay calm, get ready and know that you’re protected.