“BY FAILING TO PREPARE YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL”
Benjamin Franklin said it best – “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” This is true in many aspects of our lives but especially when it comes to preparing for a major hurricane.
Below are tips to help you family stay safe during a hurricane.
Hurricane season runs from June through November each year. With the right plan in place you can save money and be ready when a storm approaches our area.
The following is a list of things to do before hurricane season:
- Who travels? Are you or your spouse are first responders? In the health care field? A city/state emergency official? What are your employer’s expectations? Who will take the children? Who will take grandma? Are there any elderly neighbors that may need assistance? Consider these factors early when determining who will leave and who will stay behind.
- Documentation. Gather and scan important documentation including birth certificates, social security cards and the declarations pages of all insurance policies. Email these documents to yourself and keep an extra copy on a thumb drive.
- Health Records. If you travel with medically fragile family members or those with special needs, bring a copy of pertinent health information in the event health care is needed during an evacuation. As a best practice keep this information in your glove box or trunk to avoid forgetting it in a hurry.
- Contents. Document the contents of your home, at least, annually. This is important evidence you will need to submit to your insurance company in the event of a major loss. Smart phones are a great way to photograph and/or video the contents of your home. Make sure to cover all rooms in your home including the attic, garage, shed and detached buildings.
- Pets. Will your pets travel with you during an evacuation? If so, be sure to bring their shot records. Most boarding facilities will require up to date shot records before seeing your pet. Locate pet friendly hotels available along your evacuation route.
- Evacuation Route. Plan an evacuation route in multiple directions. Consider traffic patterns, contraflow and your ultimate destination. Determine the lesser traveled roads and consider alternative routes.
- Accommodations. Will you stay with friends or family or will you need a hotel? Will you need a pet friendly facility? Most hotels have a 24-48 hour cancellation window. This flexibility allows reservations in multiple directions while awaiting the storm’s final path.
- Weatherize your home. Does your house have a generator? Built in storm shutters? Do you have outdoor furniture to store? Consider all of these things in advance of a storm so you can take advantage of the best prices available for weatherizing your home and belongings.
- Text Messaging. Set up a group text for extended family members to stay in touch in the event of an emergency. Text messaging has proven to be one consistent way of staying in touch when phone lines and electricity go out.
Some people claim to think “best under pressure” and that may be true. Because hurricane preparation is no time for mistakes, having a detailed checklists in place ensures no detail is overlooked. This is important whether your family decides to evacuate or weather the storm in place.
Below are checklists for both scenarios:
A. Staying During A Storm
- Have a Plan “B” incase the storm suddenly worsens and your family is forced to leave the area.
- Follow local governmental warnings closely – evacuations, precautions, road closures and curfews.
- Gather at least two weeks worth of prescription medication.
- Restock OTC medications.
- Fill all vehicles with gasoline.
- Gather candles and matches in one area so they are easily accessible if the lights go out.
- Stock up on non perishable foods, toilet paper and other necessities including charcoal for grilling.
- Stock up on enough water for your family for at least 10 days.
- Consider filling a few gas cans with extra gasoline for generators or other machinery.
- Keep cash on hand in the event banks close or power goes out in your area for an extended period of time.
- Create a “hurricane bag” with flashlights, candles, matches, batteries, first aid kit, scissors, rope and any other small tools you may need in the event of an emergency.
- Keep an axe in your attic in the event of unexpected rising water.
- Gather board games, crayons, cards and other means of passing time.
B. Evacuating During A Storm
- Make a hotel reservation at your intended destination as soon as possible. Most hotels allow cancellations within 24-48 hours. Consider making reservations in multiple directions while you await the storm’s path. When entire cities, parishes and/or counties are evacuated the typical 1-2 hour destinations book up quickly.
- Map out your evacuation route keeping in mind traffic conditions and contra flow. While it is tempting to wait until the last minute to evacuate, history has shown that may not be the best choice. Waiting generally means extreme traffic conditions and having to go further away from home to find accommodations than if you prepared and left early.
- Bring all important documentation, health records and prescription medication for two weeks.
- Have sufficient cash on hand for the trip.
- If traveling with small children bring toys and games to occupy them during extended drive times. Extra batteries are essential.
- Gas up vehicles as early as possible.
In conclusion, despite meticulous planning, storms are notoriously unpredictable. The good news is that we know this and can plan and prepare for it. Following a few of these suggestions can make your life as easy as possible in the event of a major storm.
You will be glad that you did.
For any questions on this article, please contact us using the link below.