Preparing for Hurricane Season
The glorious sun, white sand and soft ocean breeze, these are just some of the benefits of living along a coastline. However, anyone who has a home close to the ocean will probably tell you the greatest drawback of this type of lifestyle begins on June 1st ,
the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season or May 1st
for the Pacific. If you’ve never experienced a hurricane then the idea of preparing for a storm that hasn’t even formed seems rather farfetched. You might question the need to buy bottled water or install hurricane shutters
when uninterrupted sun is forecasted for the next six weeks. Yet, ask anyone that has survived such a storm and they’ll tell you can never be too prepared for one.
Plan an Evacuation Route
The number one item on a hurricane preparedness list is evacuation planning. A storm surge or an abnormal rise in water levels generated by a hurricane is the main reason people are forced to leave their homes. Water levels can reach heights of well over 20ft and can span hundreds of miles of the coastline. It’s important you learn whether or not you live in an evacuation area (that is a region where residents must leave their homes in the event of a storm). If you do, become familiar with the route that you must take by car to get out. Don’t wait until a storm has made landfall to determine how to get out of your neighborhood. Remember if you are under a hurricane watch to leave your area early and have all you need packed in the car for the long drive.
Bottled water, canned food, blankets and batteries, these are just some of the items that emergency preparedness experts advise you to buy in advance of a storm. Purchasing supplies are one of the most important things you do can to prepare yourself for a hurricane. Experts stress that if you wait till the storm has made landfall to buy your supplies, you will be stuck in long lineups and the stores may be out of what you need most. Remember to check with your local police or fire department to learn what types of supplies you should have and how much. Some areas require more supplies than others. It’s also important to keep these supplies separate from the rest of your household goods. These provisions are designed to be used only in case of an emergency.
Check with Insurance
A phone call to your home and auto insurance agency should be made at the start of the season. Do not wait until you’re area is under a hurricane watch to make that important phone call. Get all of your insurance papers together in one folder or envelope and make sure you save electronic copies as well. You also want to have official documents that indicate proof of ownership of your home, cars and even boats. If your home or any of your personal property is damaged during the storm, in order for you to claim any type of benefits or compensation you need to prove you owned it!
Protect your Home
Before the official start of hurricane season it’s important to have your home inspected to confirm there is no damage that a storm could increase. That might mean something as big as replacing your roof or as small as securing loose shingles.
Another part of the home that is extremely vulnerable during a storm is the windows. This is the time to consider purchasing hurricane shutters
. Not the pre-made shutters available at large home-improvement stores such as Lowe’s. In order to effectively protect your home from strong winds it’s important you invest in customized hurricane shutters that are professionally installed. In fact many insurance companies will not cover homes that don’t have shutters hung by certified people.
Always be prepared
If you’ve just moved to an area of the country that is vulnerable to hurricanes you’ll quickly learn that it helps to always be prepared. Regardless if it is storm season or not, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Ask neighbors, friends or even co-workers about their own storm experiences and the advice they would give about getting ready and knowing what to do when the storm arrives. Yet, don’t let the threat of a possible storm affect how you feel about living near the ocean. Remember once you’re prepared take the time to enjoy the sun, sand and surf!