Hurricane season can be unpredictable. There is no guarantee of when or where the next big storm might hit.
This leaves millions of individuals along the Gulf and East Coasts living in uncertainty each year from June 1 through the end of November.
Even before the season starts, though, you can create a plan for you and your family in case the next big storm hits your community.
Here are some hurricane tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the possibilities.
Create a Checklist
Before you do anything, create a hurricane preparation checklist of tasks that need to be accomplished before a storm hits your area.
This list will include a range of items that can be done in advance of hurricane season to those you’ll need to complete just ahead of an imminent storm.
Protect Your Windows and Glass Doors
Hurricane-strength winds range from 74 to more than 156 miles per hour. Even tropical-storm-force winds can pack a wallop and impact your home.
That’s why it’s important for your safety and security that you protect your windows and glass doors ahead of any storm.
Some people might choose to purchase storm shutters for their homes. These shutters can be installed ahead of hurricane season and stay up through the fall.
These shutters are fixed to the outside of your home and are easy to lower and raise as needed. They might be manual or motorized. Either way, the concept is the same. Whenever a storm is headed towards your area, you should lower them to cover your windows and doors.
Other homeowners might choose to board up their windows and doors instead.
You’ll need plywood – measured and cut to fit your windows and doors – and a drill. In a pinch, you can also use other types of wood, such as insulation board or polycarbonate panels.
Secure Objects Outside
If you don’t prepare your property, anything outside that isn’t secured can turn into flying projectiles during a hurricane.
Planters, patio furniture, yard ornaments, your kids’ toys, sporting equipment: it can all cause damage if thrown in the air during a storm.
Put anything that the wind might lift off the ground in a garage or shed to keep them from flying around.
Replenish Your Supplies
Ahead of any storm, review your disaster supply kit, and replenish anything you’re running low on.
You’ll need at least a three-day supply of food and water for each person in your household. Aim for one gallon of water per person each day. Ideal foods are nonperishable items like canned goods, and bread, peanut butter, and jelly. And don’t forget the extra pet food for your furry family members.
Other items you should have on hand include a first aid kit, several flashlights, a radio (either a hand crank or battery-operated will do), extra batteries, cleaning supplies, whistles and flare, garbage bags, refills of prescription medications, and paper plates and plastic utensils.
Evacuate If Necessary
If your local government instructs you to evacuate, follow their orders swiftly. If you hesitate to evacuate when ordered, it could cost you your life.
Pay attention to the news and emergency channels operated by your local leaders. Those who live in the lowest-lying areas and flood zones will always be the first group evacuated during a tropical storm or hurricane.
Have your bags packed and your supplies ready in case you’re ordered to leave. Also, make sure you have a full tank of gas in advance. Often, there are long lines ahead of a bad storm and many gas stations run out of fuel.
Also, it’s important to have an evacuation plan in place. If you’re ordered to evacuate, where are you going? A local shelter? The home of a friend or loved one? A hotel?
Wherever you’re going, have several routes planned for how to get there in case roads are shut down or have heavy traffic due to the storm.
And remember to make plans for your family pet. Not all shelters and hotels will permit them. You don’t want to leave a beloved family member behind during an emergency.
Make Copies of Important Paperwork
If a hurricane is barreling towards your area, doublecheck your home-related paperwork, including insurance information, and make sure it’s up to date.
Then, make copies of these papers and put them in a waterproof container. If you’re forced to evacuate, bring this information with you. You’ll need them if your home is impacted by the storm.
Other information you should bring with you includes your banking information, birth certificates, wills, car insurance and registration, and wills.
You should also compile any important contact information you might need while you’re displaced, from family members to the Red Cross to a hurricane insurance claim lawyer.
Charge Your Phones
Once you know a hurricane is headed towards your area, charge your phones. If the electricity goes out, you won’t have any way to charge them in your home.
You might also consider adding portable and car cell phone chargers to your disaster supply kit. Make sure you charge any portable chargers in advance, though.
With so much going on, it might be easy to forget about charging your phone. But communication is key during an emergency.
Once the storm has passed, you’ll want to check in with loved ones and might need to call for help if any issues arise.
Find These Hurricane Tips Helpful? What’s Next?
Now that you’ve used these hurricane tips to create a plan for your family, think about what happens next.
You need to have a plan in place for what comes after a bad storm hits your area. What is your plan if your home is damaged? Or worse – what if someone in your family is injured during a hurricane?
It helps to be prepared. Browse our directory to find the right attorney to help you during your time of need.