Know the steps you can take now to be prepared for a hurricane or tropical storm.
With last year’s hurricane season well behind us and the peak of the current hurricane season already upon us, it’s time to start making preparations if you haven’t already.
Although the necessary hurricane season preparedness levels vary, there are simple actions you can take now to protect yourself, such as creating a family emergency plan, getting your financials in order, and retrofitting your home.
FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech suggests preparing for hurricane season around June 1st and November 30th every year, before the East Pacific and Atlantic basins become active and exhibit storm-friendly conditions.
If you’re currently in the peak of hurricane season — better late than never, right?
What to Prepare for Hurricane Season:
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Preparing for Hurricane Season During a Pandemic
Getting hurricane ready in 2021 is largely the same, but there are a few extra steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 in the event of a hurricane disaster.
1. Since home delivery is the safest choice for buying hurricane disaster supplies, order your supplies way in advance as there’s likely to be a delay.
2. If delivery isn’t an option, limit how often you go out by buying in bulk, reduce visits to the pharmacy by signing up for mail-order prescriptions, or use curbside pickup services.
3. Keep up with your local government for updated evacuation plans and shelters, including shelters for your pets.
4. When checking on the safety of your neighbors and friends follow social distancing (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
What You Can Do to Be Hurricane Ready
It’s important to keep in mind that these storms aren’t only a threat for those who live near the beach, in an evacuation zone, or areas that are prone to flooding.
Hurricanes and tropical storms pose a real threat to coastal and inland areas alike, causing severe weather like heavy rain, storm surge, flash flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes.
While we may not be able to control the weather and prevent hurricanes from happening, there are steps that can be taken to prepare for a severe weather event to ensure better safety and easier recovery from such a storm.
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1. Create a Family Emergency Plan
This first thing you want to know when preparing for hurricane season is how you and your family will communicate with each other in the event of a disaster.
During such events families can become separated, with unreliable cellular networks and power outages making it impossible to communicate with one another as you normally would.
This is why it’s important to have a plan in place to know how to contact each other and where to meet up in an emergency situation and not entirely rely on cell phones.
Pay attention to your current evacuation routes and plan to either take it together or meet somewhere safe.
2. Make Financial Preparations
If you’ve just lost everything you own to a hurricane or tropical cyclone, the last thing you want to worry about is money.
Setting aside a special savings account along with solid insurance before hurricane season helps you to recover from a natural disaster quicker than you would without.
Get organized now and make sure you have an emergency kit or briefcase storing important documents ranging from personal, financial, medical, and more.
Make copies of these documents and store them in a safe place that isn’t at risk of being blighted during a storm.
Having these documents readily available will be vital to begin the recovery process quickly and smoothly, which will bring you some peace of mind during an unimaginably stressful time.
You should also review your insurance policies to make sure you have the right coverage in the event of a hurricane or other destructive storm.
You will want to have a policy that insures your home’s structure and your belongings, and that also provides coverage for any additional living expenses due to a disaster.
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3. Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season
High-speed winds associated with hurricanes and tropical storms launch loose items from yards such as landscaping, patio furniture, and even trampolines, several feet at high speeds, demolishing neighboring structural elements including windows and doors.
A lot of the property damage caused by such storms, however, happens after the wind has settled. Rain and flood water can enter your home through doors, broken windows, and gaps in the roof.
As hurricane season approaches, updating your home’s weak points to prepare it against severe weather in stages can ease some of the expenses. Plus, it will undoubtedly save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.
- Replace landscaping materials such as gravel and other rock elements with shredded bark. Mulch is much lighter and softer than rock, so it won’t cause as much harm.
- Keep shrubbery and weak tree branches that could damage your home trimmed back, as well as having any dead trees removed.
- To prevent your windows from being broken, install storm shutters or fit some “DIY” plywood panels; these can quickly be nailed to the frames when you know a severe storm is coming.
- Check that your exterior doors are hurricane-proof; these should have a deadbolt lock that is at least 1” long and should have at least three hinges each.
- If you have sliding glass doors, make sure they are made of tempered glass. They also need to be covered with shutters or plywood during a storm. Because they are made primarily of glass, sliding doors are more susceptible to damage from high winds.
- Replace any old garage doors with a newer system that features impact and wind pressure protection. This prevents your garage door from flying open and allowing wind through, which could cause severe damage to your roof and other parts of your home.
- Don’t forget to seal any vents, outdoor electrical outlets, places where cables or pipes run through the wall, and any other outside wall openings. To securely prevent any water penetration or leakage, be sure to use a quality, urethane-based caulk.
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4. Prepare a Hurricane Disaster Kit
Having a hurricane disaster kit stocked and stored somewhere easily within reach can literally be life-saving in the case of tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and other natural disasters.
Prepare your hurricane survival supplies before you even hear about one is brewing and avoid the frantic and crowded run to the grocery store with everyone else and their mother.
Supplies to place in your hurricane disaster kit:
- First Aid Kit
- Nonperishable food
- Rain Poncho
- NOAA Weather Radio
- Emergency Blanket
- Personal Hygiene Items
Staying Safe During Hurricane Season
Hurricanes and tropical storms not only damage property but can destroy lives as well. Making sure you’re prepared for hurricane season can greatly reduce the impact of a natural disaster on you and your family’s lives.
Take action now to make sure you and your loved ones are protected. Do not wait until a hurricane watch is issued. By then, it may already be too late.
Remember, the most valuable thing at stake is your life and the lives of your family.
No matter what you choose to do to prepare for hurricane season, prioritize keeping you and your family safe throughout this hurricane season.
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