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How to Plan for Evacuation, Buy Disaster Supplies, & Secure Property
Hurricane season can be a stressful and fearful time for residents living in or near hurricane zones. Taking precautionary steps before a storm lands through disaster recovery planning, creating hurricane emergency kits, and purchasing flood insurance will minimize injury and damages that result from hurricanes.
Find the Community Hurricane Preparedness Plan
To find the safest evacuation routes and emergency shelters, contact the local emergency management office or American Red Cross Chapter. These plans are often provided at local supermarkets and public buildings just before and during hurricane season. Be prepared to drive anywhere from 20 to 60 miles to find a safe shelter.
Disaster Supplies for Riding Out a Hurricane
During a hurricane, many items are useful or necessary. It is a good idea to create a hurricane emergency kit where items are readily available in case a hurricane hits. These items should be stored in any easily accessible area where every member of the household can get to:
- battery-operated radio
- extra batteries
- first aid kit
- foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking, especially canned foods
- one gallon or more of water per person
- non-electric can opener
- prescription medications with copies of the prescription
- infant or elderly necessities.
Disaster Supplies for Evacuating a Hurricane
Additionally, items for emergency evacuation should be readily available for last-minute leaving:
- map of the area
- checkbook, cash, and credit cards
- one change of clothes per person
- a sleeping bag and pillow per person
- prescription drugs and medical devices
- tank of gas.
Consider Purchasing Flood Insurance
Remember that most homeowner’s insurance plans do not cover flooding caused by hurricane damages. Check into flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program from your local insurance agent or emergency management office. Get a flood insurance quote and choose a plan before hurricane season because most insurance companies have a 30-day waiting period before insurance coverage kicks in.
Protecting Windows from Wind and Debris Damage
The best way to protect windows from potential damage is with permanent shutters or hurricane impact windows. The cheaper and next best protection, however, is to put up plywood panels. Be sure to measure and cut panels long before the storm. One half inch marine plywood is the best option, and remember to mark which board fits which window. Pre-drilling holes every 18 inches for the screws will also save time when preparing for a hurricane.
Prepare Early for Property and Personal Safety
Before hurricane season, trim back dead or weak branches from trees and secure all loose items around the house that could become projectiles during the high winds of a hurricane.
Preparing for hurricanes before they have been announced is the key to the safety of both residents and their homes. Once a storm has been located, if household members know where emergency supplies are and understand what to do in case of emergency evacuation.