Have you considered how you would prepare if your home lies in a storm's path? In other words, when you're watching your local weather report, and see that a hurricane is roaring up the coast, do you know how to ready your family in the immediate days and hours before it hits?
First and foremost, listen to the recommendations of officials about the safety of staying within the storm’s path. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so. If your area is not forced to evacuate, the following steps can help you prepare:
When the storm is 18-36 hours away:
- If you have storm shutters, this is the time to cover your windows up. As a secondary solution, if you haven't installed storm shutters, cover your windows with 5/8-inch marine plywood, making sure the boards are large enough to completely cover your windows.
- To avoid lawn furniture from becoming flying projectiles, bring any lightweight objects indoors, including items such as garbage pails, lawn chairs, wind chimes and toys.
- Go online and bookmark websites that have up-to-the-minute storm information, like the National Hurricane Center, your local news stations as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's homepage, which is affiliated with the NHC.
When the storm is 6-18 hours away:
- Give your emergency preparation kit one final look to ensure that you have everything you need, including easy-to-forget items like spare batteries, a flashlight and a manual can opener.
- Take advantage of the electricity while you have it by charging up all of your mobile devices.
- Stay tuned to your local weather report for any changes in the storm track.
When the storm is six hours away:
- Dial up your freezer and refrigerator temperatures to their maximum coldness settings so your food stays fresh as long as possible if the power goes out.
- Avoid opening the fridge and freezer doors to prevent cold air escaping.
- Stay in the centermost portion of your house, away from the windows that could shatter when heavy storm winds blow.
- Call friends and relatives to keep them apprised of where you are and how you're doing.
- Stay inside until the storm passes.
With the proper homeowners insurance policy - not to mention flood insurance coverage for water damage - your belongings are financially protected. However, the claims process often takes longer than is necessary if you haven't performed an inventory. Click here to learn how to build a home inventory.
The best time to make out an emergency preparedness plan is when all is calm on the storm front. Take steps today to be prepared.