With the near weekly threat of a hurricane making landfall on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, here are a few things you can do to make sure you are prepared when this does happen.
First, know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. The American Red Cross defines them as follows:
Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.
Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
The Red Cross suggests the following guidelines:
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Check your disaster supplies (including a camera to document damages). Replace or restock as needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
- Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off propane tank.
- Unplug small appliances.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Create a hurricane evacuation plan with members of your household. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
- Find out about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
- Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
Useful guidelines for preparing for and responding to a hurricane can be found at the Red Cross and Ready.gov (Listo.gov).
As always, remember standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. It’s important to have protection in the form of separate flood insurance for the the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions.