Hurricane season for the East Pacific and Atlantic basins is officially underway. If you live in an affected area, it’s imperative to make sure you’re prepared should a hurricane strike. If you take the time to plan for an emergency properly, you and your family can rest easier knowing you’re prepared.
Know Your Risk
First, you should know your risk. Determine what types of water and wind hazards exist or could develop in your area. Hurricanes do not only affect the coast – their impact can be felt even hundreds of miles inland.
Plan Your Evacuation
One of the most important items in hurricane preparation is having an evacuation plan set in place. Find out if you live in a storm surge evacuation zone, or if your home’s location may be unsafe during a hurricane. If either of these apply to you, determine where you would go in an emergency, how you’d get there, and what you’d need to bring with you.
Not only will you need to be armed with supplies to last the duration of the storm, but for a potentially extended aftermath as well. You will need enough water, medicine and non-perishable food to last your family for a minimum of one week’s time. Some things to keep on hand:
- Bottled water
- Peanut butter
- Granola or energy bars
- Dried fruits and meats
- Canned tuna, salmon, chicken or turkey
- Canned vegetables
- Canned soups or chili
- Prescription medicine
- Insurance cards, driver’s license and social security cards
- First aid kit
- Insect repellant
- Pain relief & anti-diarrhea medications
- Disposable plates, cups and utensils
Prepare Your Home
Take the time to ensure your insurance policy will cover the cost of a rebuild should you lose your home in a storm. Building costs are always on the rise, so you want to be sure you’re covered for the cost to rebuild – not just for the value of your home. As flooding is common with a hurricane, you may consider getting flood insurance as well.
We would also recommend taking inventory of your possessions. Should you have to file an insurance claim, you will need an accurate description of each item (manufacturer, size, color, etc.), when you purchased it, purchase price, and cost to replace. A detailed, narrated video of each room of the house, garage and storage shed, paying particular attention to high-value items, will be invaluable if your home sustains significant damage.
Make sure your home is physically ready to weather the storm by securing and sealing your roof. Inspect your roof to ensure all the tiles, shingles or panels are secured and in good condition. If you’ve got the funds and can access your roof through your attic, you might want to consider installing metal roof straps. These typically run around $400 to $600 and can help better secure your roof in case of high winds.
Sealing your windows and doors can help prevent moisture from entering and damaging your home’s interior. Normal weather conditions such as heat can damage seals over time, so we urge you to conduct an annual checkup.
Lastly, we recommend reinforcing your garage door since these can often be blown in. Strengthen your the door by installing a vertical brace and reinforcing it with horizontal beams.
The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before it happens. Be sure to write your plan down, and make sure each family member is familiar with it. Taking time to plan now will ensure you’re ready to go should a storm hit.