Hurricane Preparedness – Before The Storm

Hurricane Preparedness – Before The Storm

There are many things that should be done when a hurricane is bearing down on your area.  Southshore  Insurance Professionals™ would like to share some of those with you in an effort to help you prepare not only before the hurricane but after as well should you sustain damage.

 

Put together a plan

Discuss these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelterplan?
  3. What is my evacuationroute?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Prepare for a potential power outage at home

Back up electronic data regularly – Take the time now to evaluate what electronic data you can’t stand to possibly lose.  Now, are you backing that data up to a safe location on a regular basis?  If you had to restart your office in a new location, with a new computer, do you have the electronic data you need to resume business quickly?

Prepare to protect electronics and other sensitive equipment and files  Have a plan now to protect electronics and other sensitive equipment and files.  This first thing to consider is raising everything up off the floor at least two inches.  Refrain from placing computers or other equipment directly on the floor if possible.  The next step is to keep a supply of plastic sheeting, garbage bags, tarps and other similar items ready to cover up items.  Should a window break, roof leak, or other flood occur, all your critical items will not get wet.  Have a plan to safely power down all electronics, if possible.  Keep in mind that some things, like network servers, don’t like abrupt power outages.  Unplug electronics, power strips, and anything else that can become a fire hazard if it becomes wet.

Last-Minute Ways to Protect Your Home

Hurricane Dorian is unlikely to be the last storm to rattle nerves this hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, we have just entered the peak period for such storm activity, which lasts through the end of October. And the Atlantic hurricane season itself runs through Nov. 30 — and possibly beyond. If you are in harm’s way — either right now or at any time over the next several days — you must take steps quickly to protect your property.

You can take several steps to fortify your home against the nasty winds and downpours that hurricanes generate. Some of these moves are relatively easy to complete. For example, clean out your gutters and make any needed structural repairs. Also, have a plan for moving outdoor furnishings out of the wind’s reach and into your home.

Consider purchasing a generator in case the power goes out. Learn how to turn off the electricity and gas or propane.

Other preparations are likely to take more time. They include:

  • Strap down the roof. Use hurricane straps or clips to fasten your home’s roof to the frame of the house, reducing potential roof damage.
  • Put head and foot bolts on entry doors. Give doors extra protection against being blown in the wind by installing bolts at the top and bottom.
  • Buy or make window covers or storm shutters. Purchase commercially made storm shutters, or cut window covers to fit each individual window that are made from exterior grade or marine plywood that’s at least five-eighths of an inch thick to cover big pieces of glass, such as sliding doors.
  • Caulk around doors and windows. Wind-driven rain can cause moisture damage in your home, even when the structure remains intact.
  • Protect attached structures. Make sure carports, porches and decks, entry canopies and sheds are structurally sound and firmly attached.
  • Test sump pumps and drains. Test drains and sump pumps to be sure they’re working well. Keep fresh backup batteries on hand.

You need to know what evacuation zone you are in – due to coastal storm surge – inland flooding – living in a manufactured or mobile home or a home built prior to 1973.  If any of these apply to you then you are in a danger zone for Tropical Storms and Hurricanes.  Develop an evacuation plan now.

Before an Evacuation

A wide variety of emergencies may cause an evacuation. In some instances you may have a day or two to prepare, while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Planning ahead is vital to ensuring that you can evacuate quickly and safely, no matter what the circumstances.

    • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
    • Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.
    • If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals.
    • Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
  • Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.
  • Develop a family/household communication and re-unification plan so that you can maintain contact and take the best actions for each of you and re-unite if you are separated.
  • Assemble supplies that are ready for evacuation, both a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle.
  • If you have a car:
    • Keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
    • Make sure you have a portable emergency kit in the car.
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if needed. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

During an Evacuation

  • A list of open shelters can be found during an active disaster in your local area by downloading the FEMA app
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your emergency supply kit.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather
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