With hurricane Dorian quickly approaching, we are all preparing our homes and businesses. Here is a handy checklist to review as you finish up your preparations.
1) Plan your evacuation Route Ahead of Time
While you’ll no doubt get instructions from the local government, it’s wise to create your evacuation plan well before a disaster strikes. This way, you can know ahead of time about the nearest shelters, take your pets into account in your plan, make sure to take important papers and make a trial run.
2) Keep non-perishable emergency supplies on hand
When a hurricane warning is issued, people run for the stores. As much as possible, get ahead of the rush having the following on hand:
- Extra batteries
- Candles or lamps with fuel
- Matches (keep these dry)
- Materials and tools for emergency home repairs–such as heavy plastic sheeting, plywood, a hammer, etc.
- Prescription drugs
- A three-day supply of drinking water
- Food that you don’t have to refrigerate or cook
- First aid supplies
- A portable NOAA weather radio
- A wrench and other basic tools
- A flashlight
If you need to evacuate, you’ll bring these supplies with you. As expirations dates approach (for example, food or batteries), use the items and replenish your emergency stash.
3) Take inventory of your personal property
Creating a home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It is a good idea to walk around your house and take pictures or video of all the rooms and their contents. It can also speed the claims process, substantiate losses for income tax purposes and is helpful should you need to apply for disaster aid. In the event you need to evacuate, be sure your home inventory is among the important documents you take with you.
4) Review your insurance policies
Keep in mind that your homeowners insurance covers the cost of temporary repairs for hurricane damage, as well as reasonable additional living expenses (ALE) over and above your normal living expenses if you have to relocate (such as the extra expense of getting to work or to school if your temporary home is in a different community).
However, your homeowners policy doesn’t cover flood damage, so you may want to consider looking into flood insurance. If you live by the coast, you may also need a separate policy for protection against wind and wind-blown water damage.
If you have questions about what your current policy will cover or need to augment your current coverage, contact your insurance professional.
5) Take steps to protect your home
Hurricane force winds can turn landscaping materials into missiles that can break windows and doors and much of the property damage associated with hurricanes occurs after the windstorm when rain enters structures through broken windows, doors and openings in the roof.
While retrofitting your home to protect against these possibilities is undoubtedly an expense, you can do it in stages.
- Cut weak branches and treesthat could fall on your house and keep shrubbery trimmed.
- Install storm shutters to protect your windowsfrom breakage. Alternately, fit plywood panels to your windows, which can be nailed to window frames when a storm approaches.
- Make sure exterior doors are hurricane proofand have at least three hinges and a dead bolt lock that is at least one-inch long.
- Sliding glass doors should be made of tempered glassand, during a storm, covered with shutters or plywood. These types of doors are more vulnerable to wind damage than most other doors.
- Seal outside wall openingssuch as vents, outdoor electrical outlets, garden hose bibs and locations where cables or pipes go through the wall. Use a high quality urethane-based caulk to prevent water penetration.
- If you live in a mobile homemake sure you know how to secure it against high winds and be sure to review your mobile home insurance policy.
- If you have a boat on a trailer, know how to anchor the trailer to the ground or house—and review your boat insurance policy.
6) Take steps to protect your business
Hurricanes take a toll on businesses, too so be prepared.
- Create an emergency business response and continuity plan. In the event of a hurricane this will help your business quickly recover.
- Keep contact information for employees, suppliers and vendors currentso you can check on their wellbeing and communicate next steps for resuming normal business operations.
- Review your business insurance policies in order to understand what’s covered.
For more preparedness tips, handy checklists (including ones you can personalize yourself) and evacuation planning advice to cover a variety of disasters, get the I.I.I.’s Know Your Plan app. It’s a great tool to help get you and your family—including pets—organized and ready to act more quickly if an emergency strikes.