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What you can do right now to prepare for a hurricane

July 31, 2019 Updated: September 8, 2020

A sign directs hurricane evacuees to safety.

With August as the month with the second highest number of hurricanes and September just ahead topping the list, now is the time to make sure you have a plan in place to protect your home and family.

What you can do right now to prepare for a hurricane

1.) Build an emergency kit

3.) Make a shopping list of what you’ll need to pick up before a storm hits

Experts recommend having a 3 day supply of non-perishable food as well as 3 gallons of water per person. Having your shopping list ready to go well ahead of time can help you make sure you aren’t forgetting anything last minute.

4.) Make a to-do list of last minute home preparations

Include last minute to-do tasks like making sure rain gutters and downspouts are clear or loose outdoor furniture is tied down. Having a clear list will help you have a realistic understanding of how much time you need and who needs to do what.

5.) Assess the flood risk of your home

Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted. Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.

6.) Research flood insurance, home and property insurance

Look into flood insurance, if you don’t already have it, to cover damage in case of a storm. Also, check out your current insurance coverage to determine if hurricanes and other natural disasters are covered under your policy.

7.) Plan your evacuation

Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

8.) Know how you will protect your windows

Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. You don’t need to wait for a storm to have plywood cut and ready to go. If you don’t have the storage space for cut plywood, you can still measure your windows, make a list of how much plywood you would need to buy, and make sure you have the means to cut it to size and affix it in place. You don’t want to be learning how to secure your windows for the first time with a storm looming. Don’t forget to reinforce your garage door, too. If wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.

9.) Reinforce your roof to reduce the likelihood of your roof being blown off during a storm

Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage. If retrofitting your house with straps turns out to be too difficult, you can still reinforce your roof with construction adhesive.

10.) Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant

11.) Install a generator for emergencies and make sure you know how to use it safely

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