Preparing for a Hurricane Before it Strikes

| by Mike Gersmeyer
Preparing for a Hurricane Before it Strikes

We are two weeks into a hurricane season that is predicted to be above average, according to a report released by Colorado State University. Now is a good opportunity for those living in hurricane-prone areas to take steps to help ensure that their family and home are safe before a storm makes landfall.

Compile Information

One way to prepare for a hurricane is to gather information that assesses your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Talk to your home insurance agent and consult the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to find out what emergencies could occur in your area and how you should prepare to respond.

Another important step is to develop an emergency communications plan with your family, friends and neighbors. Create a contact information list for local law enforcement agencies, hospitals, municipal utility facilities as well as your insurance company. If local weather and crime alerts are available, subscribe to them via text or email. 

Secure Your Property 

Hurricane hazards can come in a variety of forms including heavy rains, flooding, damaging wind, storm surge, tornados and rip currents. 

One way to protect your home from damaging water and winds is to install permanent storm shutters. Windows can also be boarded up with precut plywood that is available at local home improvement centers. Be sure to reinforce garage doors and securely fasten your roof to the frame of your house by using straps or clips to mitigate structural damage. Finally, clear clogged rain gutters to help ensure proper drainage. 

Install a Home Standby Generator

Home standby generators can help protect your property and family during a hurricane. Automatic home generators are a great way to avoid many of the issues that can arise in the aftermath of an emergency. Installing a home generator can also mitigate prolonged power outage costs such as spoiled food and extended hotel stays.

When a home’s primary power source goes out, an automatic standby generator system keep a home’s power on, enabling homeowners to run appliances like sump pumps, air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, clothes washers/dryers and lights. In the event of a power outage, standby generators automatically turn on just seconds after the primary power source goes down. 

Emergency Preparedness Kit

More than half of American homes are not prepared for emergency situations, according to a survey conducted by GE Generator Systems during National Preparedness Month in September 2012. The survey also indicated that 55 percent of homeowners did not have an emergency preparedness kit at home.

Having an emergency preparedness kit of items that your household may need in an emergency is one of the key steps that FEMA urges families to take prior to an emergency. Assuming that basic utilities such as electricity, gas, water, sewage and phone service may be unavailable after a storm strikes, the kit should contain food, water, any necessary medications, lighting and backup battery supplies. 

Find out how to assemble a basic emergency preparedness kit by visiting ready.gov.


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