Hurricane impacts more than just coastal areas, causing flooding sometimes hundreds of miles inland. Most home and business insurance policies will not cover flooding associated with these storms – leaving you susceptible to potentially large losses. There are some things to keep in mind before, during, and after a storm to help keep you safe and minimize your losses.
Before a hurricane
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
- Make a plan. When the emergency strikes it is important that you and your family have a plan in case you get separated. Agree on a common meeting place that is easy to find and a method of contact.
- Create a disaster kit. This should consist of water (one gallon per person per day for three days for all uses), three days’ worth of food, batteries, flashlights, first aid kit, cell phone with back up the charger, help whistle, garbage bags, pliers, a manual can opener, and any critical medications. Your valuable documents should be tucked away in a waterproof container as well.
- Fill all your gas tanks. This should be done as soon as possible because gas is usually one of the first things to run out of before a hurricane.
- Make sure your windows are protected and your home is secured.
- Know your property’s elevation level. This will help you in determining if your home is the flood-prone and can help you prepare for storm surge or tidal flooding.
During a hurricane
During the storm, howling winds, driving rain, and the threat of tornadoes make riding out a hurricane a scary ordeal. Follow these tips for staying safe in your home during a hurricane:
- Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could be dangerous.
- Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, this will help preserve your food supplies.
- Use flashlights if power is lost. Do not use candles.
- Turn on a TV or radio and listen for the latest weather updates or emergency instructions. Many city or county websites often supply updates every 30 minutes or so.
- If you are outside, move to higher ground and do not walk, swim or drive through floodwater.
After a hurricane
More deaths and injury occur after a hurricane hits than during. Usually, because people are too anxious to get outside and survey the damage and come into contact with downed power lines or unstable trees. Follow these suggestions for staying safe after a hurricane:
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. Let friends and family know that you are safe.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you over and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Avoid any flood water that may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. In addition, be extra vigilant as flood water could be hiding dangerous debris and areas where the ground has washed away.
If you live near the coast or in a flood-prone area, you may be asked to evacuate. Your “plan” should include researching your evacuation route and making arrangements in advance with family or friends for a safe place to stay.
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