June is National Hurricane Preparedness Month. When hurricane season strikes, lack of preparation can be the number one cause of devastation. To raise awareness of hurricane preparedness, we’ve compiled a list of tips that you can follow to ensure your home and family are prepared for the unexpected.
1. Develop an evacuation plan
Unquestionably, the most efficient way to begin preparing for a hurricane is to create an evacuation plan. Prior to a storm, read over your local government’s public information about evacuation areas and evacuation plans. In addition, establish an evacuation route to a local shelter near you. By downloading the Shelter Finder App on your smartphone, you’ll be able to access your nearest shelters operated by the Red Cross and its partner agencies. If you have pets, contact your shelter(s) of choice to determine if there are any animal restrictions.
2. Buy necessary supplies
One of the most alarming aspects of hurricanes is the unpredictably of when they will arrive. In fact, hurricanes are significantly harder to track than land-based weather systems. This is why it’s incredibly important to prepare your household with necessary supplies in the instance that a hurricane unexpectedly approaches.
According to the National Hurricane Center, every household should have an emergency disaster kit. Yet, not everyone is aware of what this emergency disaster kit should include. To review a comprehensive checklist for everything you’d need, read The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s guide here.
3. Secure your home
Removing outside hazards is essential to ensure complete hurricane preparedness. Outdoor furniture must be removed and placed in a safe location, propane tanks will need to be turned off, and any outstanding damages to the shingles or roof should be repaired.
Both an effective and inexpensive option, covering your windows with plywood will reduce the risk of breakage during strong winds. Protecting glass and wood doors with large glass panes will keep your doors from being broken.
4. Check your insurance coverage
The best time to discuss the adequacy of your storm coverage with your agent is now. Property owners and renters must look into whether their homes are insured against flooding. If flood maps have changed in your area or your insurance coverage isn’t enough, it is wise to reassess your plan options as soon as possible.
5. Make copies of important documents
In the worst case scenario, you may be at a loss of a home or have incurred severe damages due to the natural disaster. In the event of a hurricane, it’s critical to have the appropriate identification and financial documents needed to begin the recovery process. FEMA’s disaster checklist, as mentioned above, offers a list of important documents you’ll need to keep safe during an emergency.
6. Backup electronic devices
For recovery purposes, all data should be stored at an off-site location in the chance that something happens to the physical computer or device during a hurricane.
Businesses are advised to proceed carefully when backing up information and storing that information in a remote site.
7. Create a family emergency communication plan
There is no way to know whether or not your family will all be together during a sudden emergency. This is why it’s beneficial to establish and discuss an emergency communication plan with your family. During this meeting, you should confirm how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and how to respond to different situations.
Bear in mind that communication networks, such as smartphones and computers, may be unreliable during a storm. Planning in advance will ensure everyone knows how to proceed when reaching each other and confirming meet up points.