Oct 6, 2016

Hurricane Safety Checklist – Prepare and Protect Your Family and Home!

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Natural disasters are inevitable. How can you be sure your home and family are safe? The best protection is a plan of action. Hurricanes are potentially deadly, destructive and devastating, so planning ahead is crucial to staying safe. You’ll want to know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and Hurricane Warning. A Hurricane Watch means that weather conditions are an imminent threat wishing 48 hours. This is the time to be double checking your protection plan and supplies. A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Your hurricane safety checklist should be completed by this time.

Protection Plan – What to do before the storm hits

When you know a storm is brewing, be prepared. There are several things you’ll want to do to get your family and home as protected as possible.

  • NOAA Weather Radio will release real-time information from the National Weather Service. Don’t let a power outage prevent you from hearing the updates. Get a battery powered weather radio.
  • Bikes, playground equipment, lawn furniture and other items kept outside need to be brought inside. These objects can cause serious damage to your home if the wind picks them up.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings, and keep the doors closed. If you have a power outage, this will aid in keeping your food longer.
  • Turn off all propane tanks.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Fully charge your cell phone, and keep it on the charger, if possible. Once power goes out, you’ll be thankful for that battery!
  • Prepare any medications you and your family might need. The Red Cross recommends a 7-day supply is readily available.
  • Close all windows, doors and shutters. If needed, you can use plywood to reinforce windows and doors.
  • If you receive enough of a warning, fill your car’s gas tank. Once the storm hits, if you are evacuated, you won’t have time to visit the gas station. Fill up an extra container and keep that in your trunk, as well.
  • Move furniture away from windows.
  • Trim dead branches from trees, especially those within 6 feet of windows and doors.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts. Clear away clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Create an evacuation plan and practice it with your family.
  • Find and map out your community’s hurricane response plan.
  • Check on your disaster supplies, and restock, replace and replenish as necessary.

Supply Plan – What emergency supplies you’ll need to have on hand

Having supplies doesn’t mean you’re preparing for the apocalypse. It’s a smart, responsible plan that, if needed, could save your life!

  • Water – you’ll need a minimum of a 3-day supply for EACH member of your family. The general rule would be 1 gallon, per person, per day.
  • Food – at least a 3-day supply for EACH member of your family is suggested. These are non-perishables and food that is easy to prepare. Consider canned goods, granola bars and dried fruit.
  • Flashlights
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Emergency blankets
  • Cash – this is important, because when power is effected, credit card machines won’t work.
  • Pet food and supplies (enough for 3 days)
  • Baby food and supplies (enough for 3 days)
  • Extra clothing – you never know what could happen during a hurricane. Having extra clothing and rain gear is always a smart idea.
  • Extra keys for your vehicles and home – During an emergency, you may panic a little, and forget where your keys are, or worse, not have time to find them. Keep a spare set with your disaster supplies.
  • Extra cell phone battery or charger
  • Basic hygiene products
  • Copies of important personal documents – these could be medical information, insurance and warranty plans, passports, birth certificates, photo copy of your driver’s license, etc.

Assessment Plan – What to do after the storm has passed

Once the storm has passed, and you are confident it’s safe, you’ll need to assess the damage. Generally, it’s recommended that you wait for your local news, weather or emergency responders to give you the green light.

  • If you can avoid it, don’t drive anywhere, unless officials suggest it. Flooded streets and downed power lines are a serious danger.
  • Stay away and out of building that have water surrounding them.
  • Inspect your home. Take pictures of damage inside and outside. Make a thorough sweep of your home to be sure you don’t miss anything. Keep a detailed, written list of all damage.
  • Check all windows and doors – are they opening/closing properly? Are there cracks or any damage on them?
  • Avoid cooking with or drinking tap water, until your local authorities clear it of possible contamination.
  • Stay clear of any loose or dangling power lines!
  • Animals are very susceptible to drops in barometric pressure (storms). Keep a close eye on them, and don’t let them wander.
  • Try to only use your phone for emergency calls and checkups only. Overloading the cell towers could mean big delays.
  • Check your refrigerator and throw away spoiled food.
  • Prevent further damage to your home. Place a tarp on your damaged roof to keep rain out, cover up broken windows with plastic, etc.
  • If you can avoid cleanup, don’t start immediately. Your home insurance adjuster may need to see the damage in real-time to efficiently file your claim. When you call, ask them if it’s ok to start the cleanup process.

Hurricane Information Resources

All of us at Fixd hope everyone stays safe! Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of the recent hurricanes.