Is your home prepared for hurricane season? You may have gone over your prep checklist a million times, but it never hurts to do it again. You might have missed something! We’ll guide you through your hurricane readiness plan whether you’re a new homeowner in a hurricane zone or an experienced storm veteran.
Plan Your Evacuation Route
Sometimes you can stay in your house throughout the storm, while other times you’ll have to leave. If you need to evacuate the area, you’ll need to know exactly where to go and how to get there. Plan your main route and at least one alternative in case of traffic jams or road closings. Mark your routes on a physical map and store it in your vehicle for easy access when you hit the road.
Inventory Your House
Take stock of everything in your home and include a list of how much each item is worth. Creating a video using either your phone or a handheld camera is an excellent way to solidify your claims and speed up the insurance claim process. Once you have all the records you need, make a backup of everything and have them ready to grab and go if you need to evacuate. This includes important documents.
Know Your Insurance Policies
Hurricane protection plans vary widely depending on your location, building codes, and insurance providers… among countless other factors. Understand the ins and outs of your specific insurance plan before a storm hits. Knowing what your contract entails will enable you to speed up insurance claims while being accurate and comprehensive about the damages your home suffered.
The last possible outcome you want is to evac and have your family stay in a hotel longer than necessary while you’re struggling with insurance providers. At the very least, keep the contact information for your insurance provider in your phone, but you can also keep a policy in your car or you bugout bag.
Stock up on Supplies and Non-perishable Goods
Don’t get caught unprepared when a hurricane traps you in your home. Fresh water is your most valuable resource. The average person can go through two gallons of water per day in an emergency situation. How much non-perishable food you purchase depends on your specific needs, but plan for at least one week before you’re able to leave the house.
Don’t forget your emergency survival pack. Stock up on redundant sources of everything including fire, light, energy sources, first aid, and basic tools. Also, a NOAA emergency weather radio is a game-changer during a hurricane. Buy extra building materials and tools for emergency home repairs and replacement reinforcements for doors and windows.
Reinforce and Protect Your Home and Business Properties
Speaking of reinforcements, board up the outside of your windows with plywood. Most solid doors are fine as they are, but it doesn’t hurt to give them some extra support. Buy hurricane-proof doors to err on the side of caution. Glass doors should always receive extra protection. Place tape over any windows in an asterisk formation, going from one corner to the other, then from top to bottom and side to side. This helps keep the glass in place should the windows get broken.
Ensure that you block any potential sources of leaks like doorways, window seals, and vents with towels. The trees in your yard could also pose a threat to your home, so prune any weak branches and trees that could fall on your house. If possible, replace any rock or gravel landscaping with lighter materials like pine or shredded bark to prevent more damage to your house.
If you own any other properties (especially business locations) take the same precautions there that you do with your main residence. Don’t forget to check up with your insurance policy on those locations as well.
Preparing for a hurricane might be tedious and a little costly, but it’s well worth the investment. You’ll be thankful you went through all of that trouble before a storm passes through. It’s far better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario ahead of time instead of scrambling to figure out the aftermath on the fly.