The past three Atlantic hurricane seasons have mostly been comprised of glancing blows and near misses. However, with two named storms having already formed before hurricane season even officially began, forecasters believe this could be a more active year.
Now that we are in the midst of hurricane season, have you thought about how you would prepare if your home lies in a storm’s path? Imagine you’re watching the weather report and see that a hurricane is coming up the coast, do you know how to make sure your family is ready in the immediate days and hours before it hits? The following information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency outlines a few steps to follow that can help you, your loved ones and your home brace for the storm.
When the storm is 18-36 hours away…
- This is the time to cover your windows up with storm shutters if you have them installed. 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.
- Bring in any lightweight objects that are outside to avoid them becoming flying projectiles. This could include lawn chairs, garbage cans, coolers and toys.
- Double check you have an emergency preparation kit ready to go, and restock it with anything you might need such as batteries and a flashlight.
When the storm is 6-18 hours away…
- Make sure all your mobile devices are charged up.
- Stay up-to-date with all the current weather reports.
- Give your emergency preparation kit one final look to ensure you have everything you need if you have not already
When the storm is six hours away…
- Turn your freezer and refrigerator to their maximum settings so that your food can stay fresh as long as possible in the event of a power outage.
- Stay away from walls and windows that could shatter due to strong storm winds.
- Reach out to friends and family to let them know how you are doing.
- Stay inside until the storm passes.
Of course, these preparations assume you’ve already taken more comprehensive steps to prepare, ideally weeks in advance.
If you’ve recently installed new windows – or done so in the past few years – you know how expensive they can be both to install and to purchase. Despite their improved quality, windows are one of the more vulnerable parts of the average home, which is why safety experts highly recommend installing storm shutters. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has some recommendations on the best wood to use, how thick the shutters should be and why you should avoid taping your windows.
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. The Insurance Information Institute has an excellent mobile app you can download to your handheld device to help get you started and finished.
“NOAA believes 10 to 16 named storms are on tap for the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season.“
So, how certain are forecasters about this year being an active period for hurricanes? NOAA is predicting with a 70% degree of confidence that between 10 and 16 named storms will develop during this years hurricane season. However, as FEMA Deputy Director Administrator Joseph Nimmich pointed out, “active” is a relative term when it comes to Mother Nature.
“While seasonal forecasts may vary from year to year – some high, some low – it only takes one storm to significantly disrupt your life,” Nimmich explained.
“Preparing for the worst can keep you, your family, and first responders out of harm’s way. Take steps today to be prepared: develop a family communications plan, build an emergency supply kit for your home, and make sure you and your family know your evacuation route.”
The best time to make out an emergency preparedness plan is when all is calm on the storm front.
If you have any questions about insurance coverage, our personal insurance experts are ready to help you.
Sources: selective.com “How To Prepare When A Hurricane Roars Ashore“, noaa.gov “Near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year“