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Hurricanes are coming. Here’s how to be ready.

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

Hurricane season just started in June, and records have already been broken.

For part of June, dust off the Sahara Desert suppressed storm activity in the Atlantic. But experts are still telling us to be ready for the rest of a season that gave us an unprecedented three named storms by the first week.

So what must you do to be ready? There are many guides and checklists out there from various sources, including the government. Of course, there are new things to think about this year – such as the coronavirus pandemic. That affects planning, as we note below. But you have to keep all the usual stuff in mind as well.

We’ve boiled it all down into our own brief guide. It’s organized into three parts: Before, During and After.

Before – Preparation is Everything

  • Sign up for local alerts and warnings. Monitor local news and weather reports.
  • Prepare to evacuate. Learn evacuation routes, find a place where you can stay, pack a “go bag” and keep it handy. It should contain not only clothing and toiletries but medications, credit cards and any important papers you don’t want left behind. Also, set aside enough food and water for everyone for three days. And remember COVID supplies (see below).
  • Stock emergency supplies. That includes water – three gallons per person.
  • Protect your property. Trim large trees and shrubs. Bring in patio furniture, potted plants, bikes and toys. Install sewer backflow valves, anchor fuel tanks. Remove loose objects from your roof.
  • Collect and safeguard critical financial, medical, educational, and legal documents and records.
  • Identify a shelter room – the safest place in the house, in case you end up not evacuating for whatever reason.

During – It’s about Survival

  • Follow guidance from local authorities. If advised to evacuate, grab your “go bag” and leave immediately.
  • As long as you are in your home or any other structure in the storm’s path, stay away from windows and seek shelter on the lowest level in an interior room.
  • Move to higher ground immediately if there is flooding or a flood warning.
  • Obey the axiom, “Turn Around Don’t Drown.®” NEVER walk or drive on flooded roads or through water.
  • Call 911 if you find yourself in physical danger.

After – Remain Careful; Dangers Still Exist

When the storm is gone, dangers still remain. This list consists entirely of “Don’ts:”

  • Don’t return home until authorities say it is safe.
  • Don’t enter damaged buildings until they are inspected by qualified professionals.
  • Don’t walk or drive on flooded roads or through floodwaters.
  • Don’t go near downed or unstable trees, poles, and power lines.
  • Don’t remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear gloves and sturdy, thick-soled shoes to protect your hands and feet.
  • Don’t drink tap water until authorities say it is safe.

Finally, There’s the Pandemic

COVID doesn’t care that you’re fleeing a hurricane. The rules remain the rules, whatever else is happening. So add all of this to your Before list:

  • Some things to add to your “go bag: two cloth face coverings per family member and cleaning items, like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks. Remember when those things were in short supply in stores? It’ll be like that.
  • Make extra sure you have prescriptions filled and ready to go with you.
  • And yes, when around people outside your family, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

It’s Not All on You

You don’t have to shoulder the risks posed by a mighty storm alone. That’s what we are here for.
Part of your preparation for any emergency should include reviewing your insurance policies and cataloging belongings.

Something you should do now, before the storm is looming, is contact one of our brokers, to make sure your home, vehicles and personal valuables are adequately covered.