While hurricane season is almost over for 2020, it won’t be long until these massive storm systems begin to form in late spring. That gives you time to prepare for the threat of high winds, heavy rains, coastal and inland flooding, and even tornadoes. By starting a hurricane prep list early, you can avoid the eventual chaos that occurs at grocery and home supply stores after a hurricane warning or watch is issued.
Since these storms often cause outages, pollute drinking water and damage or destroy property and roads, a hurricane preparedness checklist is essential. Planning and preparing can keep you and your family safe while allowing you to recover quickly following a storm.
Here are some of the things you can do now to prepare yourself, your family and your property for a hurricane:
Prepare your property for high winds
You can take the following steps to reduce the risk of damage from hurricane winds:
- Fortify the roof: Repair any loose shingles and consider installing roof strappings to prevent the winds from lifting it from your house.
- Store your outdoor items: Bring in any furniture, tools, trash cans, and sports equipment. Anchor anything that can’t be brought inside, such as dog houses or sheds.
- Trim your trees: Old and damaged trees should be removed or trimmed, especially those within about forty feet of the house.
- Replace hard landscaping: Rocks and gravel in your beds can turn into missiles during a windstorm. Replace them with mulch.
- Anchor your outdoor fuel tank: Tie down or anchor a fuel tank or any other utility to prevent it from overturning.
- Secure your manufactured home: Bolt your structure to the foundation. Talk to a professional engineer to ensure the anchoring system is installed correctly.
- Install impact-resistant storm shutters: Use shutters to protect your windows from the high winds.
- Seal every crack and gap: High winds will force water into your house. Caulk around all windows and doors and fill the gaps where wires and pipes enter the home.
Protect your home against flood damage
Make your home flood-resistant with the following suggestions:
- Remove all debris from drains and gutters.
- If your basement is susceptible to flooding, have it waterproofed. Otherwise, elevate the heating system, water heater and electric panel.
- Install a high-quality sump pump with a battery backup.
- Use a leak detection alarm to warn you of flooding or leaks inside the house.
- Have check valves placed in sewer lines to keep flood water from backing up into your drains.
- Consider sandbags or other barriers.
Add flood insurance to your to-do list
Your homeowners insurance will probably not cover flood losses. If you live in an area that puts your property at risk for flooding, you should seriously consider purchasing a separate flood insurance policy. Talk to an insurance agency, such as NSI Insurance Group, about this essential coverage that protects your home from rising waters.
Food and Water
Keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food on hand. These foods should not require refrigeration or preparation. Include the following:
- Ready-to-eat canned soups, meats, fruits, and vegetables.
- Canned juices.
- Canned pasta.
- Canned beans.
- Dry cereal.
Store one gallon of drinking water per day per person in plastic containers. You may have to double that amount in hot weather. Keep in mind children, nursing mothers and ill people will likely need more.
Create a first aid kit
You may have to treat cuts, so include an antibiotic cream along with an assortment of bandages, gauze, and medical tape. Other items to include: tweezers, gloves, burn ointment, scissors and pain relievers. Moistened towelettes and antiseptic wipes could come in handy and don’t forget an extra pair of glasses, contact lenses with cleaning solution and hearing aids and batteries.
Tools and supplies you might need
- Paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Manual can opener.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Battery-operated radio with extra batteries.
- Plastic storage containers.
- Matches in a waterproof container or a lighter.
- Paper and pencil.
- Signal flare.
Sanitation items and clothing to keep on hand
- Hand sanitizer.
- Toilet paper.
- Soap and detergent.
- Feminine supplies.
- Personal hygiene items.
- Plastic garbage bags.
- Plastic bucket with lid.
- Extra shoes or boots.
- Rain gear.
- Sleeping bags.
- Hats and gloves.
Do not forget your pets in your home preparedness checklist
The Humane Society of the United States provides these tips for protecting your pets:
- Add a form of identification to your pet’s collar. It should include the phone number of a friend in case someone finds your pet and cannot get a hold of you.
- Keep your larger pets on a leash or harness and smaller ones in a carrier.
- Pack a week’s supply of food, water, medications and cat litter.
- Keep a list of phone numbers for your veterinarian, animal control, animal shelters and the Red Cross.
Check with the experts on homeowners and flood insurance
A hurricane preparation checklist would not be complete without an insurance checkup to ensure you are adequately covered. With over 60 years of experience, NSI Insurance Group has been delivering the most competitive insurance coverage.