Hurricane season is upon us.
The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1st and lasts until November 30th, with the most active month historically being September. With hurricanes having the ability to affect areas more than 100 miles inland, it’s important for anyone living near any U.S. coast to remain vigilant during these months. After the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, those of us in and around Houston are more cognizant than ever to the potential damage of hurricanes. The number one way you can protect yourself and your family? Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Have a plan for you and your family.
Be sure you have an evacuation plan in place and that everyone in your family is aware of it and has practiced it. Your plan should include a way to evacuate pets, travel routes and final destinations where you can safely wait out the storm. Be sure to test your route during rainy weather to ensure the roads will not be prone to flooding. Always avoid flood waters as they can be charged with electricity from underground or downed power lines.
Put together an emergency kit.
Include enough clean water, non-perishable food and personal hygiene items for at least three days. When it comes to water, allot for one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation. Also include blankets, flashlights, matches, batteries, candles, back-up cell phone chargers, a multi-purpose tool, battery-powered weather radio, first-aid kit, any medication and copies of important personal documents. Don’t forget any baby or pet needs and some entertainment and comfort items to make the situation more bearable. It’s also a good idea to have some cash for any purchases you need to make.
Keep everything in waterproof, portable containers that are stored in an easily accessible location. It’s also recommended to keep a set of supplies in your vehicle should you find yourself stranded away from home or at work.
Prepare your home and property.
Consider investing in hurricane shutters and be sure to review your home insurance policies to know what is and is not covered in the event of a hurricane. Oftentimes, home damage is due to flooding, so read carefully about the specifics of your policy. You may need to purchase additional flood insurance.
At least once a year, clean out drains and gutters to keep water properly flowing away from your home and inspect your roof and overall home exterior for any issues that need repairing. Trim any loose shrubs or tree limbs to prevent flying debris. If a storm is actively headed your way, bring in anything that could become a flying object including lawn furniture, toys, grills, bicycles, potted plants, etc.
Stay aware of the weather.
Hurricane season lasts from June through November and storms can strengthen very quickly depending on conditions. Be sure to regularly check the forecast and be aware of any possible developments in the tropics.
If a storm is headed your way, keep an ear to The Weather Channel or your NOAA Weather Radio for local updates that could impact you. Download an app that gives alerts and will direct you on where to find help, like the FEMA or Red Cross Hurricane app.
Proper planning is the best way to ensure you, your family and your home come out unscathed. Above all else, stay smart and keep an eye on the weather!