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Developing A Hurricane Preparedness Plan

Hurricanes can cause significant damage to your home and property.

Hurricanes can cause significant damage to your home and property.

When hurricanes strike, the damage and destruction left behind can be almost beyond description. While you cannot fully insulate your home or business from the damage caused by hurricanes, there are some steps you can take to at least minimize the damage to your property, as well as making sure that your family and loved ones are as safe as possible during this extremely dangerous time.

 The first order of business is to develop a family disaster plan.  This is designed to make sure that your family knows what to do in the event of a hurricane or other severe weather event, along with other information designed to negate the devastating effects of a severe storm.

One of the first things to do is to learn about your community’s hurricane risk. Your local emergency management office or National Weather Service office can provide details on recent storms and how your area was affected.  They can also tell you if you live in an area that may be prone to flooding during hurricane conditions or other severe weather events. Knowing the elevation of your property as it relates to other streams, rivers, and dams will help you determine if forecast flood levels will affect your property.

If your findings reveal that you are in fact at risk from hurricanes, see if your community has a hurricane preparedness plan in place, including information on the evacuation routes, nearby shelters, as well as the conditions necessary for evacuation in your area.  Your evacuation plan should make sure that every family member knows where to go, and who to call if they become separated. Making last minute plans and decisions is never a wise idea.

If you have a boat, make sure you have a storage space for it in the event of a hurricane. If there is no such option, secure the boat as well as possible in advance of the storm.

Again, make sure that every family member knows what to do in the event of a hurricane, especially if they are caught in situations where they are not with you.  Review flood safety and preparedness measures with your family.

Also, assemble a disaster supply kit, also known as a “go bag” for each family member. Hurricane supplies should include the following:

–          A week’s supply of food and water as well as a three day supply for time on the road.

–          Changes of clothes to accommodate an extended stay away from home.

–          Plenty of cash. ATMs and credit machines will not function if the power is out.

–          ID and important documents.

–          First aid supplies.

You can protect your property during a hurricane by bringing inside any items that may be picked up and hurled by strong winds.  Remember these winds may be in excess of 100 mph. Clear out clogged rain gutters and downspouts as this will help prevent misdirected flooding.

Install hurricane shutters. These can be closed and locked in a short time, protecting windows and doors from damage due to high winds. Strengthen garage doors by installing additional supports. If you are living in a coastal home, consider having it elevated to make it less resistant to hurricane driven water.

Make adequate flood preparations, since hurricanes can often produce strong storm surge. Hurricanes may end up dropping more than 10 inches of rain in just a few hours.

Finally, have the contact information for a qualified flood damage restoration provider.

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