Here are five steps you must take to make sure you are ready for this hurricane season:
1. Create an evacuation plan and discuss it with your family
Create an evacuation plan and discuss it with your family to make sure they know the evacuation routes and destinations. Also take note of the local emergency shelters or evacuation centers and make sure that your plan includes the latest emergency contact numbers. Pet owners should also have an emergency plan for their pets.
2. Prepare an emergency supply kit
Assemble a basic storm kit and keep them in a safe spot so they’re available in case you need them, especially once you evacuate. Your emergency supply kit should get you and your family for three days even without electricity and other basic services. It should include necessities like water and food, flashlight, batteries, a first-aid kit, extra cash, blankets, clothing, and others. Also, consider the special needs of your family members and add them to your kit.
3. Collect and secure important documents and other valuables
Store your home insurance policies, ownership or mortgage documents, other important papers, family pictures, and other valuables in waterproof containers or a safe-deposit box. That way, they won’t be damaged if a hurricane causes flooding and you can carry it with you if you need to evacuate. Once disaster strikes, remember that you will need your insurance papers as proof for claims and assistance. You will also have to prove that the affected property is yours. Likewise, make sure you know what types of damage your policy will cover and confirm that it is up to date.
4. Shut off utilities once authorities told you so
Turn off water, gas, and electricity once local officials told you to do so to prevent damage to your home or within the community. You should also unplug all small appliances in case there’s a power surge. Moreover, set the freezer and refrigerator in the coldest setting. That way, your food will stay cold a little longer and you can preserve perishable items you will need in case there’s a power outage.
5. Bring in all outdoor objects and furniture
Once a hurricane warning is issued, bring inside all your outdoor objects — backyard furniture, toys, garden tools, bicycles, garbage cans, etc. These things are not tied down and can be moved by high winds, cause additional damage, or possibly hurt someone. Secure them in a safe place in your home but away from stairs and exits.