Hurricane season begins on June 1st and ends on November 30. During that time, people who live in areas that are susceptible to hurricanes must be ever vigilant because of the possibility of a hurricane. Being able to stay safe through the entire season is essential because it may mean the difference between life and death. There are many things that people can do to keep themselves safe during hurricane season, regardless of whether they need to evacuate or can ride the storm out in the comfort of their own homes.
The most important thing to consider when trying to make sure that you are safe during hurricane season is that to stay safe, you must plan ahead, and you should never leave things until the last minute because it is too easy to forget things that may be extremely important.
Here is a look at some of the things that one should do to stay safe during hurricane season.
*Make sure you have the proper insurance –
Be sure you check with your insurance company long before the start of hurricane season to make sure you have adequate insurance. You may want to think about adding flood insurance even if you don’t live in a flood prone area. Many people make the mistake of insuring their homes and possessions for the value of those at the time of purchase as opposed to the replacement value. Although it may cost you more to insure your home and possessions for replacement value, it is the only way to ensure that should the unthinkable happen, you will receive adequate compensation to rebuild or replace what has been lost.
*Be sure you can protect your home –
This means that if you live in an area where you will be likely to take a direct hit, you need to take measures to ensure that your roof is secure (including purchasing roof straps for mobile and modular homes,) hurricane shutters (and although the shutters are expensive, you will reduce the yearly cost of your homeowners insurance by having them,) wooden boards, generators and other protective supplies.
If you are living in a newer home, you can make sure that the construction meets the new hurricane standards. These standards make newly constructed homes much more solid, and some homes are built to be strong enough to withstand the most extreme hurricane force winds. Protect appliances, and turn off gas, and other utilities that might pose a fire hazard if they were to come into contact with water.
*Assemble a hurricane readiness kit –
A hurricane readiness kit is not a kit in the traditional sense. It is a collection of all of the supplies you will need to have on hand during the hurricane season. As long as you prepare in advance and make an effort to stock pile things that you would need to have on hand in case of a hurricane, you won’t be faced with a situation where you have to take care of everything at the last minute. This is a good way to forget important things and if you don’t stock up on food supplies while you can, you’ll find that store shelves will be empty the moment the National Hurricane Center issues a watch or advisory for a particular area.
Be prepared by purchasing plenty of non-perishable food, water, paper supplies, hand sanitizer, garbage bags, batteries, flashlights and battery powered lanterns, a NOAA weather emergency radio, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, and things such as a first aid kit. Plan to have food to last you for as long as a couple of weeks.
*Make sure you have plenty of cash on hand –
Remember, when there is no electricity around, that means that normal things that people take for granted such as being able to use a credit or debit card won’t work. If you have sufficient cash, you can pay for things you may need.
*A locked waterproof/fireproof box for important documents –
You will want to keep everything from birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, social security cards, a household inventory, including appraisal of possessions, insurance information, emergency contact information, house title, extra prescriptions, important medical information and other irreplaceable documents and information.
*Plan an evacuation route and have a place to go –
Don’t wait until you have to evacuate to plan your route. Everyone else will be doing the same thing, and if you can take the time to plan a route in advance, you may be able to avoid a considerable amount of traffic, and the last minute rush of people who are trying to flee.
*Packed suitcases, backpacks or other luggage –
Instead of waiting until the last minute to gather your clothing and other necessities, make sure that you have a packed back ahead of time. That way, if you now that an evacuation order is going to be issued, you can be ready to leave before the mass exodus. You will be able to find refuge somewhere while others may find that many places are already full.
*Medications, medical records and prescriptions –
Make sure that you have plenty of medication and that you have enough to last you through the entire period of the storm and aftermath. Depending on the severity of the storm, this could be as little as a couple of days or as much as several weeks or longer. Running out of medication at a time like this would be rather unfortunate.
Make sure you have plenty of blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and other things to keep people comfortable. If you stay at home, you will need to go to an interior room in your home. You don’t want to risk being in the basement or lower floor if flooding is a possibility and you don’t want to be on the top floor in case the roof were to collapse. If you can afford to do so, you might want to consider reinforcing an interior room in your home and make it a safe storm shelter.
Remember, too, that hurricanes can be life or death situations, so if you know there will be an evacuation order, don’t be foolish: heed the warning. Possessions can always be replaced, but human lives are irreplaceable. Don’t forget that you will need to have supplies and provisions for pets, too. You will need to take measures to ensure their safety since they cannot do that for themselves.