Living near the coast might seem like a dream, and it is. It’s scenic! But there is also evidence that coastal living leads to good health.
If you do live along the coast, however, you are susceptible to hurricanes. These natural disasters can have serious consequences, so you should take every precaution that keeps your family safe (and sane). The last thing you want is for a hurricane to ruin the lives of your loved ones. They aren’t fun and games! Hurricanes are very scary and destructive storms, and you should do everything in your power to keep yourself safe. Take the following advice, and never forget: Be prepared! Here is a Hurricane Survival and Preparedness Checklist that will help you prepare for the worst but hope for the best:
First things first – know your situation. If there is a possibility that you might be in the path of a hurricane, the best thing to do is purchase a hurricane survival kit and store it somewhere safe. You should also pick up any important medications and make sure your emergency kit has backup copies of all your important documents (birth certificates, financial documents, etc.).
Check in with your utility company to see what services will be available if a storm does hit.
What to do BEFORE, AFTER and DURING Hurricane?
Here is a Hurricane Survival and Preparedness Checklist:
BEFORE the Storm Stay updated.
- Know the latest storm projections and obey all official notices about evacuation orders, curfews, etc. Your most important actions will likely take place in the first few hours after a hurricane strike.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit ready to go at home, in your automobile, and at work. You should include enough supplies for each person for 3-days with food and water (If possible, have twice as much!)
- Also have enough first aid supplies and other medicines for the duration of the emergency. Non-perishable food items that do not require refrigeration are best because they can be taken in an automobile without any special preparation.
- Make sure to stock up on all necessities such as:
- Flashlights, Batteries and Candles (If you use candles, please don’t leave them unattended!)
- A battery powered radio is also a great way to get updates about the hurricane and receive news concerning local conditions when power is out.
- Keep your important documents (birth certificates, photographs, etc.) in a safe place off-site or make sure they are backed up in a secure location.
- Fuel up the car and keep it filled with gas at all times. Make sure to include a full tank of gas in your emergency supply kit as well.
- If possible, text your family members and let them know that you are safe, or send a message on Facebook or Twitter if you feel comfortable doing so. Take pictures of your property when the storm clears out so there is an ‘after’ photo for any insurance claims made later.
AFTER the Storm
- Give your home a visual inspection to make sure there are no immediate safety issues. If there are, make necessary repairs quickly.
- Take pictures of your property when the storm clears out so there is an ‘after’ photo for any insurance claims made later.
- Check in with neighbors to see what their needs are and if they need assistance.
- Get back to normal as soon as possible. Restart utilities (including gas) as quickly as you can once it’s deemed safe to do so by officials and begin clean-up efforts within 24 hours of the storm passing through to prevent mold growth or flood damage from worsening due to standing water. You should clean and sanitize your home as soon as possible after the storm.
DURING the Storm Stay inside.
- If there is no safe place to stay due to flooding, then go directly to your designated shelter location identified by officials during an emergency (this may be a local school or other public facility).
- Close all exterior doors and windows including garage doors if you can get them closed. If you cannot get them closed, cover them with a blanket or mattress to prevent wind from entering through the opening. Install any window guards at this time if you have not already done so.
- If you have a basement, go downstairs to a small interior room. Be sure to avoid rooms with windows and / or unbraced walls.
- Get away from windows – Go to the center of your house on an inner wall if possible. The National Hurricane Center suggests a 3 foot distance between you and outer walls or glass windows during high winds for safety purposes. Do not stand near large furniture items that could be picked up by wind gusts like dressers, tables, couches or beds as they have the tendency to become missiles when hit by flying debris and wind-borne objects during hurricanes while inside buildings.
- Get out of vehicles and move away from windows and glass edifices (i.e. shopping malls, restaurants) as these are likely to shatter and break in high winds.
- Stay away from roofs and walls as damage can occur to roofs if they are too close to the eye of the storm and it is temporarily lifted off of its foundation.
- For your pets, bring them inside a building or secure your pet in an outdoor kennel if you cannot bring them into your home. Do not try to put animals outside for their safety as this will only increase the risk of injury or death from flying debris and high winds.
- Keep children and pets away from windows during the storm If they cannot leave, cover the windows with a blanket to prevent glass shattering inward if there is a power outage.
- Do not use candles or open any light source that can ignite flammable gases in a hurricane-prone area as this increases your risk of fire damage and injury when high winds occur. Instead use battery powered flashlights while indoors and avoid cooking appliances like ovens or gas stoves until it is deemed safe to do so by officials once the storm has passed through.
Calling Professionals to help with Water Damage
If you suspect that your home has been damaged, or if it is flooded and you cannot return to it safely without putting yourself in immediate danger, hire a Professional contractor to assess the damage as the experts know exactly what to look for when trying to determine if your home has sustained hurricane damage. Flood damage professionals are equipped with high-tech tools like moisture meters and infrared cameras which allow them to analyze storm damage from water leakage more effectively than an untrained homeowner can.
Once a qualified contractor has examined your home, they can provide you with better storm damage and flood damage restoration estimates which will allow you to make more informed decisions about repairs.