Protect Your Family & Home From Hurricanes
PREPARING YOUR HOME
- Install wind impact-resistant windows or storm shutters on all windows, skylights, doors and garages. Entry doors should be constructed of solid wood or hollow metal.
- Roof covering should be properly installed or clips retrofitted to withstand high winds.
- Brace garage doors – there are retrofit kits available to strengthen them. In an emergency, back up your car against the inside of the garage door to prevent it from “twisting” due to high winds.
- Keep gutters and down spouts clear and in good repair.
- Have proper equipment and teach family members how to turn off utilities (electricity, water, and gas) if needed.
Get any basic maintenance done before a storm threatens. Keep gas tank at least half full with gas. When Hurricane watch is issued, fill your tank. Have a survival kit for your car, including: first aid, tire inflator, basic tool kit, jumper cables, road flares, flashlight, DC to AC power inverter, cell phone chargers, map with shelter locations, working jack and spare tire, nonperishable food and bottled water, can opener, cash.
Before a storm threatens, properly prune trees and shrubs and have piles removed. Bring outside patio furniture, lawn ornaments or sculptures indoors. Work with neighbors to prevent damage to their backyard items. Tie down any loose items that may damage your home if picked up by wind.
PROTECTING YOUR BELONGINGS, VALUABLES, AND IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Furniture and household furnishings
These should be moved away from exterior doors and windows. If possible, elevate items, including drapes and cover them with plastic. Place towels at the base of doors to absorb any water that may enter.
Keep an inventory
Maintain a current inventory of valuable items, such as art, jewelry, and collectibles in a video or photographs and store them in a secure location (away from premises, such as bank deposit box). In event of an emergency, use a waterproof container and store in interior closet.
Protect personal documents
Personal Documents are some of your most valuable and difficult items to replace. Protect the following documents in a bank safe deposit box or other off-site storage or in water proof containers. You may also scan these items to keep an electronic copy on a flash drive for easy access.
- Personal items: birth certificates, marriage licenses, immunization records, pet vaccinations, photos that would be difficult to replace.
- Financial documents: stock and bond certificates, account numbers with contact information, first two pages of your latest income taxes, backup disc of financial management software.
- Legal papers: deeds, titles for vehicles and boats, living wills, passports, military records, powers of attorney, child custody or divorce records.
- Insurance: copies of all policies, including homes, vehicles, boats, health, life, along with appraisals, home inventory (photos or video of your home’s contents) and pertinent contact numbers.
DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
Store items in a water-resistant containter:
- Cash: at least $300-$500 in various increments, as vendors may not be able to make change in an emergency
- Two-week supply of prescription medicines
- Food: at least a week supply of food, including special dietary and pet foods and a manual can opener
- Water: one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation. You may want to fill the tub and containers with water, as you may need it even post evacuation
- Flashlights and extra batteries for each member of the family and water purification kit
- Portable NOAA weather radio and extra batteries – look for radios that can be cranked for charging instead of using batteries
- First aid book and kit
- Two coolers (one in which to keep food, the other for ice)
- Plastic tarp for roof/window repair, screening, tools, nails, duct tape, etc.
- Clean-up supplies (sponges, buckets, towels, disinfectant)
- Toilet paper, paper towels, plastic trash bags and pre-moistened towelettes
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Local maps in the event you need to evacuate the area
Additional considerations for disaster supply kit:
- Additional fuel for generators or gas tanksGenerator
- Extra pair of glasses or supply of contact lenses
- Important family documents sealed in waterproof container
- Travelers’ checks and change
- Books or other activities
- Fire extinguisher
- Personal hygiene items
- Matches in waterproof container
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper as disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach)
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN
In the event of an evacuation
- Become familiar with the community’s disaster preparedness plan.
- Know your evacuation route and have a predetermined destination in mind.
- Selection a point of contact and common meeting place if separated during the evacuation process.
- All vehicles should be well fueled. Gas will be hard to come by.
- Make sure you bring essential items (including cell phone, flash light, NOAA radio, etc.).
If you are unable to evacuate
- Identify a “shelter” room in your home. This enclosed area should be on the first floor, in central part of the home with no windows. Consider keeping your emergency kit there and go there when needed.
- Remain in contact with neighbors who are staying in their home during the storm. Others who are riding out a storm may need your help and you may need theirs.
- Make arrangements to use alternative means of communications.
- Consider installing a gas powered generator to power your home in the event of a power outage. Test and refuel it regularly to ensure it is operational at the time you need it.
- Use portable generators in well ventilated areas due to carbon monoxide.
- If flooding threatens the home, turn off electricity at main breaker. Unplug or turn off major appliances, including air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage when power is restored.
UNDERSTAND YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE
- Review your policies with your insurance broker to ensure you understand the amount you will receive in the event of a covered loss and if it will be adequate to rebuild your home. Also, know the deductibles, special provisions such as building code upgrades, replacement cost extension, replacement cost coverage, additional living expenses and additional policy information (i.e. flood policies, collections, etc.)
- Know your responsibilities such as making arrangements to have your home secured. If away, verify emergency generators and sump pumps are functioning.
- Include your insurance company’s toll free claims number and insurance broker’s name in your emergency kit.