Are you ready for storm season?
Each year storm season leaves a trail of devastation in its wake. From damage to infrastructure to loss of homes and even loss of lives. And if you don’t know how to prepare for it, you might be one of the people taking the heaviest losses.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for 7 tips on how to prepare for a storm so you’re ready for anything.
1. Have a Plan
Storm season’s official north Pacific start date is May 15, and June 1 in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The official end date is November 30. Make sure you know these dates and have a plan.
Write down emergency phone numbers, and keep them somewhere easy to access. Like next to every phone in the house, or on your fridge. Make sure they’re saved into your cellphone too. Locate your nearest shelter and plan different routes to get there. Different routes let you plan around traffic, flooding, or debris blocking the way.
You need to prepare if you have pets in advance. Identify the emergency pet shelters, or find a pet-welcoming hotel. Or, contact an out-of-town friend or relative who can take your pets during an evacuation. Your local animal shelter may also be able to offer advice in advance on how to how to evacuate with your pets.
2. Go Over Your Insurance Policies
Go through your insurance policies to make sure you understand your coverage. You want to make sure it’ll be adequate to cover any potential storm disaster. It should be able to repair, or rebuild your home, and replace any ruined belongings.
Your home insurance will cover the cost of temporary repairs for hurricane damage. It’ll also handle reasonable extra living expenses above your norm if you need to move out of the area. These expenses include getting to work or school if you’re in a different community.
When going through, if you have questions contact your insurer to get it straightened out. You don’t want to left high and dry in stormy waters.
3. Make an Inventory
If your home sustains hurricane damage, you’ll have to go through an insurance claim. An adjuster will determine what damages your insurer will cover.
You should take an inventory of every asset of value in and around your home before storm season. This ensures you account for everything. Make sure on your list you make a note of the make, model, serial numbers, value, and date you bought it where possible.
Whatever details you can provide the better. Claims adjusters will work to give the lowest value they can, based on the item you describe to them. If you have receipts, it’s even better. The more detail you can give, the closer you’ll get to the true value of your items.
4. Set Aside Emergency Supplies
During and after a storm or hurricane, you might need supplies to stay safe and healthy. A bad storm could cut off power and water supplies. You also might not be able to use your car because it’s damaged. Or there is road flooding or blockages.
Put together an emergency supply kit with first aid and enough supplies to last you at least a week or so. Fresh clothes and warm, dry blankets are a must too.
Put together an emergency supply of any medications you need, as well as the staples. Makes sure you’ve got food and water supplies, safety, and personal items too. Have batteries, battery-powered lights, and torches on hand too.
Keep medical documents, wills, or passports in a waterproof folder or safe box. Also, make sure you have a safety compliant fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
5. Accept You May Need to Evacuate
Always listen to authorities on whether to evacuate or not. If a storm or hurricane is coming, you may get the order to evacuate. Don’t ignore this order, if you’re told to go then go. Otherwise, you could put your life at risk.
If you need to leave then grab the emergency supplies you put together and take what you need. This should be items like cellphones, chargers, medicines, ID, cash, clothes, and blankets. Also, take a few days’ worth of food and water to be on the safe side if you can.
Unplug your appliances, and turn off all gas, water, and electricity. Follow the route emergency workers tell you to, even in traffic. Other routes could have blockages or flooding. Never try to go through floodwater, you could stall or get swept away even in only 6 inches.
6. Protect Your Property from Water and Wind
High winds can damage the structural integrity of a building. Reinforce the structure as much as you can, including doors and windows as well as roofs. If you can, construct a FEMA compliant safe room or storm shelter that meets ICC 500 standards.
For protection against flooding, keep gutters and drains clear and clean. Install a water alarm as well as sump pumps that use a backup generator. Having a backup home generator is key here, for flood prevention and if you have to stay put.
Install check valves on the sewer lines to prevent water backing up. Have an emergency stock of materials like plywood, plastic sheets, and sandbags. Make sure you elevate your furnace and any electrical panels if in a high-flood area. And waterproof your basement.
7. Prep Your Yard
With the wind and water whipping up, flying debris can be an added danger to you and your home. So, get your yard prepared.
Bring inside loose, lightweight items (patio furniture, decorations, hanging baskets, and such). Any items it’s not safe to bring inside, like a gas grill, anchor them down.
Trim trees and remove any that would have the potential to fall into the house.
Make sure you haven’t left any chemicals, motor oils, or fertilizers outside. You don’t want those spilling and contaminating your yard and home, making it unsafe.
How to Prepare for a Storm Made Easy
So there you have it! If you follow these 7 tips on how to prepare for a storm, you’ll be ready for when the next one hits.
Preparation is key to most things in life, and storm season is one of those things. Have a plan, have emergency supplies ready to grab and go and know where you, your family, and pets will stay.
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