Be hurricane ready!
While we are trying to regain some sense of routine while reopening the country during the COVID pandemic, it might be easy to overlook that we are heading into the busiest time of hurricane season, which officially runs through November 30.
Let’s be honest. We’ve been busy trying to find toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. We haven’t checked our “hurricane stash” yet (but will today).
It should be no surprise given all the craziness of 2020 that this hurricane season is off to a fast start. In fact, a tropical storm formed before the “official” start of the season and just two months in we already have had 9 named storms (fastest season start on record).
But we have a long way to go. Keep in mind that 84% of tropical storms, 91% of hurricanes and 95% of major hurricanes typically occur after August 1st.
Hopefully you have been able to stock a box with emergency supplies including water, flashlights, batteries and canned food.
We want to remind you that now is the time to make sure you have a plan in place, including a plan for pets. Are you in an evacuation zone? If you plan to evacuate, make sure you know the location. If shelters aren’t open due to the pandemic, do you have a backup plan?
NOAA predicted an above average hurricane season with 13-19 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
For those keeping track, here are the names picked for the 2020 storm season: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.
Here are a few ways to make sure you, your family and your home are ready for hurricane season:
File it. Have a file of hurricane information available. It should have information on the nearest shelter. Your home insurance information in case a claim needs to be made. Contact information for schools, work, neighbors, pharmacies and hospitals. Include important numbers for the electric company, phone company and county public safety including location of sand bags. Your file should also contain a list of household items (see below) as well as a house prep checklist.
Make a List. Write down all the things in your home, inside and out. Make a room by room list (example: Bedroom 1: 2 dressers, king size bed, 2 nightstands, 2 lamps and a wall-mounted TV). Nothing about this task sounds fun but if something does happen to your home and you need to make an insurance claim you will need this list. Having a list can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Make a kit. Everyone should have a basic emergency kit (store a bin in an easy-to-reach closet). Your kit should contain non-perishable food and a gallon of water per person for up to three days. Also include flashlights with extra batteries, first aid kit, garbage bags, toilet paper, bleach, soap, manual can opener, baby and pet supplies, duck tape, lighter, basic tools and battery-operated radio.
Hurricane emergency kit checklist: https://www.ready.gov/kit
Outdoor inspection. Make sure there are no problems with windows, doors and garage doors now, before hurricane season starts. If you plan to board windows, make sure you have necessary supplies that are labeled for easier installation. Trim trees and shrubs now. Check and clear gutters and rainspouts. Also make a checklist of items that need to be brought in if high winds are expected including lawn decorations, flags, patio furniture, grill and potted plants.
Fill it up. Make sure your car gas tank is full. If you have a generator, make sure it is in working order and you have extra gas on hand. Same with your grill’s propane tank. Charge cell phone and consider a battery-backup. Fill prescriptions if needed. Finally make sure you have cash on hand in case ATMs are not working due to power outages.
Important documents. Keep important documents (passports, birth certificates, deeds, etc.) with you. If you are not in an evacuation zone, store these documents in a waterproof container.