first step in preparing for a hurricane is to have a plan. Having
what you need and knowing what to do can minimize damage and its
impact on your life. Making a plan should involve every member
of your family, including the children. When a disaster occurs,
emotions run high. Having a well thought out plan will help you
and your family members remain calm and in control.
review their insurance policies with their agents. Most standard
homeowners policies do not cover flood damage, and some policies
in coastal areas may not cover windstorm damage. Don't wait
until the storm is approaching to upgrade your coverage.
Make a list of
your belongings and take pictures or videotape them. Dont
forget to inventory the garage, attic, basement and the exterior
of your house, including landscaping and fencing. Include
a close-up shot of the day's newspaper to provide the date.
Keep your inventory list along with purchase receipts, pictures
and your insurance policy in a safe-deposit box or other safe
place away from your home.
Plan for evacuation.
Familiarize yourself with the evacuation route and the location
of shelters in your area.
If you own a generator,
be sure it is well maintained and familiarize yourself and
the members of your family with how to operate it safely.
Identify an emergency
contact person that is out of range of the storm. Be sure
everyone in your family knows how to contact this person in
case of an emergency and you are separated.
Your family will
cope best by preparing for a hurricane before it strikes.
One way to prepare is by assembling a Hurricane
Supplies Kit. Once a storm is imminent, you won't
have time to shop or search for supplies if they are even
available. But if you've gathered supplies in advance, your
family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.
When A Storm
- Check your supplies
and update if necessary.
- Many services such
as phone or electricity may not be available after the storm.
Prepare for this. Be sure your cell phone is fully charged and
even if you plan to stay, fill your vehicles with gasoline in
case you are forced to evacuate.
- Be sure to have
cash on hand to last for several days as the banks may be closed
and the ATMs require electricity to be operational.
- Take action to protect
your property - cover your windows with storm shutters, siding
- Move vehicles into
garages when possible, or park them near your home and away
from trees. Grills, patio furniture and potted plants should
be moved into the house or garage.
- Loose objects in
your yard can become missiles, so tie down anything you can
not bring indoors.
- If you are told
- Take your disaster
- Lock the windows
and doors of your home.
- Turn off all utilities.
- Call your emergency
contact person and report your plans.
- If you are not told
to evacuate, settle in and stay put. Keep the roads free for
those who need to use them. Have your disaster kit near you
in case you are forced to evacuate your home.
- If you are not susceptible
to storm surge, go to an interior room on the lowest floor to
protect yourself from wind-related damage.
- Stay tuned to your
local TV or radio station.
- Stay indoors until
you hear that the storm has cleared the area and conditions
After the Storm
- If you have property
damage, contact your insurance agent or report directly to your
insurance carriers 800 claim number.
- Make a list of your
personal property that has been damaged or destroyed. Take pictures
of the damaged property.
- Protect your property
from further damage. Your reasonable expenses to protect your
property are part of the loss and are generally reimbursed by
insurance companies. Keep all receipts.
- Do not have permanent
repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the
property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
- If necessary, rent
temporary shelter. If your home is uninhabitable, most homeowners
policies pay additional living expenses while your property
is being repaired. Before renting temporary shelter, check with
your insurance company or agent to determine what expenses will
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