Hurricane season starts in June and runs through November, but the time to prepare is now. Spend some time organizing your home and reviewing your hurricane preparedness measures. If you spend one or two weekends gathering supplies and creating a plan, you can handle almost any storm between now and November. Follow these five steps to prepare for hurricane season this year.
The Cliff Notes: Key Takeaways From This Post
We listed tips on hurricane season preparedness; however, here are the key bullet points if you are in a rush:
- Stock up with supplies ahead of time to avoid fighting over essential items when the hurricane approaches.
- Collect sandbags and use them to secure your home against floodwaters.
- Buy wood to board up windows from both inside and outside (if possible).
- Create an effective evacuation plan with deadlines, multiple options, plans for family and animals, and communication strategies.
- Gather important documents and take photos of your home before the storm to serve as evidence in case of damage that needs claim filing.
Stock Up With Supplies Ahead of Time
The panic of an impending hurricane brings out the worst in some people. The last thing you want is to fight over a generator or a few gallons of water. Many of the supplies you need to survive a hurricane are non-perishable, which means you can buy them in the Spring before the season ramps up.
The National Hurricane Survival Initiative has a comprehensive list of supplies to get through a storm. They start with the basics of food and water and then get into the details of what you need in a first-aid kit and sanitation supplies to have on-hand. It is a great resource to have as you prepare.
If you don’t use your supplies by the end of the season, donate them to a local food shelter. Most places are looking for food donations through fall and winter.
Collect Sandbags in Your Shed or Garage
Sandbagging is a popular way to prevent floodwaters from seeping into your home. However, there is a right and wrong way to use them. You want to make sure the sandbags are packed tightly together to prevent any water from getting through. You should also stagger the seams of the bags instead of placing them right on top of the other. This creates a more secure wall and will be more effective at keeping water out. If you don’t have a sturdy sandbag wall, the hurricane floodwaters will seep through.
Buy Wood to Board Up Windows
Boarding up your windows and glass doors can prevent the glass from breaking or limit the risk to your family if it does. Most homeowners board up windows from the outside. If flying branches and debris strike the house, the boards take the brunt of the force, not the glass windows.
Boarding the outside isn’t always possible. Homeowners with high windows or people who live in condos with upper balconies may need to board from the inside. This is still effective hurricane prep. If the window breaks, glass won’t shatter all over your home and family. Make sure your windows are boarded up correctly to stay protected during the storm.
Create an Effective Evacuation Plan
Some people want to ride out any storm, but the local government may issue a mandatory evacuation if the storm is bad enough. Even if you hope to not use it, it’s important to have a plan in mind, even if you’re just going to a shelter down the street. Your evacuation plan should include:
- Deadlines to decide when you are going to evacuate.
- Multiple evacuation options depending on where the storm is going or coming from.
- Plans for your pets, relatives, and family members who can’t take care of themselves.
- Communication plans with family in the event of dropped power or cell service.
This will prevent the chaos and confusion that comes with evacuating, as you will know where you plan to go and who you will stay with.
Gather Important Documents
Whether you are riding out the storm or evacuating, collect important documents that you will need in the event that your home is destroyed. These include birth certificates, passports, deeds, insurance documents, medical records, pet vaccinations, and other important materials. If these materials are sorted and in one place, you can quickly grab them if you need to.
>>Download our ultimate Hurricane Insurance Checklist to make sure you have what you need when it comes time to file a claim.
These materials will also help you if you need to file a claim due to hurricane damage. Before the storm hits, take photos of your home so you have a before and after reference should you need to file a claim. With the right supplies, you can stay safe when a hurricane bears down on your area. If your home is affected by a storm and your insurance company is unwilling to help, reach out to Herman & Wells. We specialize in insurance disputes and particularly hurricane claims. We will fight for you to help you repair your home or business.