Hurricane Preparedness: Essential Steps to Stay Safe and Secure

As hurricane season approaches, it’s crucial to be prepared to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property. Hurricanes can bring devastating winds, heavy rain, and flooding, but with the right preparation, you can mitigate the risks and stay safe. Here are essential steps to help you prepare for a hurricane.

1. Stay Informed

Monitor Weather Reports: Keep an eye on weather forecasts and updates from reliable sources like Environment Canada or the local news. Understanding the potential path and strength of an approaching hurricane will help you make informed decisions.

Sign Up for Alerts: Subscribe to emergency alerts from local authorities and weather services. These notifications can provide timely information about evacuation orders, shelter locations, and safety measures.

2. Create an Emergency Plan

Family Communication Plan: Establish a communication plan with your family. Ensure everyone knows how to reach each other and where to meet in case you get separated.

Evacuation Routes: Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes and have a plan for where you will go if you need to evacuate. Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full and have a go-bag ready.

3. Prepare an Emergency Kit

Essential Supplies: Your emergency kit should include:

  • Water (at least one gallon per person per day for three days)
  • Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and necessary medications
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Important documents (insurance policies, identification, bank records) in a waterproof container
  • Cash and emergency contact information
  • Blankets, and a to-go bag with a change of clothes
  • Tools and supplies for securing your home

4. Secure Your Home

Reinforce Windows and Doors: Install storm shutters or use plywood to protect windows and doors. Ensure garage doors are secured and can withstand strong winds.

Clear Yard: Remove loose items from your yard, such as furniture, decorations, and trash cans. These can become dangerous projectiles in high winds.

Trim Trees: Cut back any branches that could damage your home or power lines during the storm.

5. Review Your Insurance Coverage

Policy Check: Review your homeowners or tenants insurance policy to ensure you have the proper coverage. Overland water insurance is not a standard home coverage but it is one we strongly recommend having. Don't leave reviewing your policy to the last minute - insurance may not be available to purchase or increase when a storm is tracking for direct impact; but rest assured, if you have coverage, it will remain in force throughout the storm.

Document Valuables: Take photos or videos of your property and valuable items for insurance purposes. Store these records in a safe place.

6. Stay Safe During the Storm

Shelter in Place: If you’re not advised to evacuate, find a safe room in your home away from windows and exterior doors. The interior rooms, closets, or bathrooms on the lower level are usually the safest.

Power Outages: Be prepared for power outages. Have backup power sources like generators and make sure you know how to use them safely, with proper ventilation and clearances.

Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, medical facilities, and family members.

7. Post-Storm Safety

Wait for Official Updates: If you have been evacuated, do not return home until authorities declare it safe. Follow their instructions regarding re-entry and clean-up.

Avoid Floodwaters: Floodwaters can be contaminated and dangerous. Avoid walking or driving through them.

Inspect Your Home: Once it’s safe, carefully inspect your home for damage. Document any damage for insurance claims and contact your insurance company as soon as possible. As a homeowner, you are responsible to mitigate any losses that occur. If you experience damage, take photos and then take appropriate action to prevent further loss to your property including the removal of water with sump pumps, removal of debris, installation of tarps, etc...

Hurricane preparedness is about planning, protecting, and staying informed. By taking these steps, you can reduce the impact of a hurricane on your life and property. Stay safe, stay prepared, and remember that the key to weathering the storm is preparation.

For a review of your insurance coverage, contact us! We’re here to help you stay safe and secure.