From June through November, the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal regions are highly susceptible to hurricanes, tropical cyclones or severe tropical storms. These natural disasters can cause significant damage to areas along the coast and those several hundred miles inland. Stemming from hurricanes, other disasters, such as tornadoes, floods, landslides or mudslides, can cause additional damage. While all of the destruction caused from these storms cannot be prevented, taking steps to prepare can lessen the physical and emotional damage to you, your family and your home.
The first step in planning for a hurricane is to analyze your risk and gather emergency contact information. Things to consider when analyzing your risk are:
- Elevation – Learn more information about the elevation of your surrounding area. This is will help you determine if you are at risk for flooding. Review the FEMA Evacuation Guidelines for additional tips.
- Levee and Dam Location – Levees and dams are common in areas prone to hurricanes. Identify any that may be in your area and check to see if they could pose a danger to you.
- Evacuation Routes – Learn the evacuation routes for your area and find out where to go in order to reach higher ground, such as an emergency shelter. Also consider multiple options for how you could reach this destination.
In addition to these potential hazards, the National Hurricane Center suggests having the contact information for the following:
- Local Emergency Management Office
- County law enforcement
- County public safety fire/rescue
- State, county and city government
- Local hospitals
- Local utilities
- Local American Red Cross
- Local TV stations
- Local radio stations
- Your property insurance agent
Having a well-stocked emergency kit is important when preparing for an emergency that may cause you and your family to become stranded without power. Assemble an emergency kit prior to hurricane season, and store it in a safe, accessible place. Ready.gov suggests the following items for your supply kit:
- Food (at least three days worth of non-perishable food per person);
- Water (at least a gallon per person per day);
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both;
- Flashlight and extra batteries;
- First aid kit;
- Whistle to signal for help;
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place;
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation;
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities;
- Manual can opener for food;
- Local maps; and
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
After you have taken the initial preparation steps and have assembled an emergency kit, there are numerous other elements to consider when preparing for a hurricane. Consider the following checklist when taking precautionary measures:
- Develop a family communication plan
- Make plans to secure your property;
- Cover all the windows of your home with permanent storm shutters or 5/8″ marine plywood;
- Fasten your roof to the frame structure using straps or clips;
- Trim any trees or shrubs around your home to make them more wind resistant;
- Clear rain gutters and downspouts;
- Reinforce garage doors;
- Install a generator;
- Obtain a NOAA weather radio; and
- Plan to bring any outdoor items, such as garbage cans, furniture, or anything else that cannot be tied down, inside.
Be Hurricane Ready
Gathering important information, assembling an emergency kit and taking other necessary measures can help you and your family be more prepared in the event of a hurricane. These storms are dangerous and unpredictable, so it is important to take any precautions you can to help protect you, your family and your home. For additional information on hurricane preparedness, visit NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, Ready.gov or the American Red Cross.
© 2020 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.