Hurricane Preparation Tips
We feel so blessed to live and work in this unbelievably beautiful coastal community. Every region across the globe comes with its own challenges, and for a brief season each year, our challenge is to watch the weather and prepare for the possibility of coming storms. At Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, we place the highest value on the safety of our agents, staff, clients, builders, vendor partners, and neighbors, so we pulled together some advice to help you feel confident and prepared this season.
Food and Water: Stock up on drinking water and nonperishable food. Choose products that can be eaten without cooking, and rotate food items in your pantry to keep them fresh. Keep a manual can opener on hand and stock up on pet food. When a hurricane is heading your way, line bathtubs with plastic and fill them with water to use for bathing, toilets, etc. (but not for drinking). After a storm passes, eat perishable food first.
Medicine: Make sure you have your standard pain medications on hand and refill all prescriptions if necessary.
Fuel: Following a natural disaster, your gas grill might be the only method of cooking available, so be sure your propane tanks are full and keep a spare on hand. If a hurricane is approaching, don’t wait until the last minute to top off the gas tank in your car — fill several approved gas cans as well. But don’t store gasoline in your home or near an ignition source such as a gas water heater.
Lighting: Be sure you have several flashlights and plenty of batteries. While propane camping lanterns should not be used indoors, portable lamps that run on batteries are available in incandescent and fluorescent versions. Due to the increased risk of fire, avoid the use of candles. If you must use them, don’t leave candles unattended, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Information: In the aftermath of a natural disaster, a battery-powered or crank-style weather radio and AM/FM radio are your lifelines to the outside world. Battery-powered television sets can be useful as well.
Communication: Keep mobile phone fully charged and make sure you have a battery-powered charger or one that works in your car.
Yard: Bring any lawn furniture, grills, bikes, toys, garbage cans, potted plants, and other loose items inside, or store them in a garage or storage shed.
Windows: Remove screens from windows. If available, screw 5/8-inch thick exterior plywood over them.
Trees: Trim overhanging limbs away from the house.
Boats: Take tarps off boats. Remove any loose items and tie down securely.
Cars: Park cars away from trees and power lines.
Utilities: Locate cut-offs for gas, electricity, and water. Have adequate tools on hand to turn them off if necessary.
Evacuation: Both inland and coastal flooding can occur during and even following a hurricane. If you live in an area prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate well before the storm arrives. Store the following information and documents in a plastic bag or waterproof container to take with you when you leave:
Insurance Policies: Car, homeowner’s, boat and life insurance policies.
Financial Records: Statements from checking and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, loans and retirement plans. Don’t forget your checkbook and keys to safe deposit boxes along with ATM and credit cards.
Medical Records: Include allergies to medications and medical histories for each member of the family.
Personal Identification: Birth certificates, Social Security cards, computer passwords, and contact information of friends and relatives.
Household Inventory: A recent list of your home’s contents, along with photographs, will prove invaluable when dealing with the insurance company. A DVD or videotape of your home and possessions is also helpful.
*Other important items to take with you are sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, extra clothes, and a carrying cage and leash for pets. If you have extra room, consider including irreplaceable items like family photo albums and scrapbooks.