Are you in the Florida area? I’m sure you heard about Tropical Storm Erika before she died. It’s the time of year – Hurricane Season.

We’ve missed out on hurricanes lately so it seems as if we’re overdue. Are you aware of some common, but often overlooked, safety tips for hurricanes and tropical storms? I know, it’s been a while, but let’s go over some precautions you should take for this year’s hurricane season. Who knows what’s in the future, best to be equipped.

Take the effort now so if something major happens, you’ll be prepared and ready.

  1. Take a look at your insurance coverage to make sure it’s up to date and covers exactly what you need in case disaster strikes. You might want to consider adding additional coverage – you can never be too careful!
  2. Do a little home inventory in case filing a claim is something you have to deal with. It will help you make sure you don’t leave anything out. Document all the contents of your home with a video camera and regular camera. Have receipts handy for valuable items – you may even want to cover some of these items with additional insurance.
  3. Protect your home! Look into installing hurricane shutters or have plywood boards on hand for each window. Keep up with your landscaping – if a storm is coming, remove patio furniture or damaged tree limbs that could become projectiles during heavy storm winds.
  4. Know the evacuation routes of your area and keep your gas tank full.
  5. Have, in one location, important documents like:
    1. Driver’s license
    2. Social Security card
    3. Proof of residence
    4. Insurance policies
    5. Birth and marriage certificates
    6. Stocks, bond, and other certificates
    7. Wills, deeds, and copies of recent tax returns
    8. Personal checkbooks and unpaid bills
  6. Don’t take unnecessary risks like going back into a destroyed building, refusing to evacuate, or driving when it is deemed ‘unsafe’ to drive.
  7. Make sure you know the available shelters in your area if it gets to that point.

Also, make sure you have these important items stored and ready for any approaching storm:

  • Food and medicine
    • Clean containers for water (try to have about a 2 weeks supply of water) and/or bottled water
    • Food that won’t go bad (think canned food – tuna, veggies, beans, etc.)
    • Baby food or formula if applicable
    • Prescription medicines
    • Traditional medicines (Advil, for example)
  • Safety items
    • First aid kid and instructions
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Battery-powered radio
    • Flashlights
    • Candles
    • Extra batteries
    • Sleeping bags or extra blankets
    • Supplies to make water drinkable and safe (iodine tablets or chlorine bleach)
  • Personal care items
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Baby wipes in case there is no clean water around
    • Soap
    • Toothpaste, toothbrush
    • Feminine products
    • Diapers

During a hurricane watch:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for progress reports or changes
  • Check emergency supplies
  • Make sure your car is full of fuel
  • Bring all outdoor objects inside
  • Secure your home
  • Keep extra cash on hand in case of emergencies
  • Remove outside antennas and satellite dishes
  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings; open only when you need to and close right away
  • Store drinking water

During a hurricane warning:

  • Listen closely to NOAA Weather Radio or official bulletins for information
  • Evacuate to a safe place if/when instructed by officials
  • Let your neighbors and family members know where you’ll be if you evacuate
  • Have blankets, sleeping bags, flash lights, and extra batteries on hand
  • Store valuables in waterproof containers
  • Stay inside – away from windows, skylights, and glass doors
  • If you lose power, turn off major appliances to avoid power ‘surge’ when the power comes back on

After the storm:

  • Listen to the radio for updates and instructions on things like weather and road conditions
  • Return to your home ONLY when instructed that it is safe
  • Don’t drive across flowing water
  • Stay away from standing water, as it may be electrically charged from power lines
  • Take pictures of any damages to your property or home and notify your insurance company
  • Have all utilities – like gas, water, and electric – inspected for safety
  • Use tap water only when officials deem it safe
  • Use battery powered flashlights and spotlights – try to avoid using candles or open flames indoors

Are you prepared for any other storm that might come your way? Don’t get your spirits down – have board games and card decks on hand, stay safe, and make sure you’re prepared. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail! Remember, above all else, safety is the main priority!