Preparing your Home for Hurricane Season
Thanks to the National Hurricane Center for many of these ideas.
- Take pictures of all of your possessions and keep a list of each, along with their serial numbers and value. Copies of these should be in a safe place outside of your home.
- Check your insurance coverage since flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. National Flood Insurance Program http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/
- Find out if your home meets current building codes for high winds. Homes that meet or exceed current high-wind standards have a much better chance of standing up. Visit IBHS (Institute for Business and Home Safety) http://www.disastersafety.org/
- Protect all windows by installing commercial shutters or preparing 5/8 inch plywood panels.
- Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio.
- Reinforce all garage doors. Since they are so large they are frequently the first part of a home to fail in high wind.
- If you do not live in a mobile home or a surge evacuation zone, designate an interior room with no windows or external doors as a "safe room".
- Stock nonperishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit.
- If you can safely store gasoline, do so for your generator, chain saw and even vehicles.
- Invest in solar powered chargers for your rechargeable batteries and cell phone batteries.
- Ensure that landscaping and trees do not become a wind hazard. Rock and gravel can blow in high wind. Tall trees over and close to your home may fall. Trim dead, weak, or dangerous overhanging branches from all trees.
- Few mobile or manufactured homes can withstand hurricane force winds. Even if they are tied down you put yourself and family at risk by staying in the threat of high wind.
- Know your neighborhood's and home's vulnerability to wind, storm surge, and flooding.
- Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact if you have to evacuate or abandon your home.
- Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate. Check with your county EMA.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
- Know the elevation of your property and how it compares to local floodplain maps. Even if it never flooded before it still can because floodplains change over time with nature and with development.
- In high-risk flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves. Call your county emergency management agency to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood, so that you or your evacuation routes are not cut off. Avoid driving into water of unknown depth. Moving water can quickly sweep your vehicle away.
- Always keep children from playing in flooded areas.
- Once a hurricane warning is issued, secure or bring inside all lawn furniture and other outside objects that could become projectiles in high wind, or float away in flood water. Install your window shutters or plywood panels.
- Listen for safety instructions form local officials.
- Be prepared when the storm strikes to go toyour designated "safe room". Remember that there is little to no wind in the eye of a hurricane so that's only the halfway point of the wind and rain. Do not leave your safe room until directed to do so by local officials, or until you are 100% certain the worst has passed.
- Watch for debris, and for downed power line that may still carry current, even after the storm.
- Test drinking water for potability; wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking.
- Do not eat fresh food that has come in contact with flood waters. Wash canned goods that come in contact with flood waters with soap and hot water.
- Charge all rechargeable batteries for cell phones, flash lights, radios and other devices.
Be Red Cross Ready
Hurricane Safety Checklist
Remember: Disaster can strike at anytime or anywhere.
Let Your Family Know You’re Safe
If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site, available through www.RedCross.org/SafeandWell , to let your family and friends know about your welfare. You may also call 1-866-GET-INFO (1-866-438-4636) to register yourself and your family.