7 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Your Family

By Adam P. Newton, July 17, 2013, Hurricane Prep

7 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for your FamilyAre you ready for the next Hurricane Sandy or Katrina? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2013 is predicted to be an active year for hurricanes, with anywhere from 13 – 20 named storms. An active hurricane season puts homes at risk not only along the coast, but in the interior towns and counties as well. Hurricane damage can occur miles inland and can be devastating for both homeowners and businesses.

While you can’t do anything to affect where a storm is headed or what type of damage it will do, you can be prepared in advance to minimize the trouble you’ll have afterwards. Hurricane preparedness is key to riding out an active storm season with your possessions and sanity intact; the following tips are designed to help you get ready for a turbulent hurricane season in 2013.

Develop a Hurricane Preparedness Plan

Long before there is any threat of a storm, the first step your family should take is to develop a plan or course of action should you be forced to evacuate or generally prepare for a hurricane. Let’s walk through a few important steps:

  • The National Hurricane Center recommends you have on hand the contact information for a variety of government agencies and local resources. Make sure you write down the phone numbers for your local utilities, preferred repair companies, insurance company, Red Cross, and other emergency agencies. Put this information in a binder or notebook and keep it with your emergency supplies for fast reference.
  • This is also the best time to make sure you know how to work your hurricane shutters and backup power generator and to make sure you have all the accessories you need in your emergency supplies. Check your fuel and familiarize yourself with your generator at the start of each hurricane season, and you won’t have to worry about learning to operate it when the power goes out.
  • Prepare for evacuation by determining if there are hotels that would stay open during a storm or if you have family you can visit during a storm. Make sure the destinations you are considering are still open, and check with family members to see if they can still take your family in during a storm. You should also be prepared to board your pets, or make arrangements to take them with you in advance. You won’t have to struggle to decide what to do or where to go when a storm has you in its sights.

Take Inventory

Now is the time to inventory any antiques, art, or expensive items for your home insurance policy, if you haven’t already done so. Take clear photographs of jewelry or fine art and file them along with appraisals if you have them. A simple walkthrough of your home captured on video at the start of the hurricane season will capture most of your important items, and record the pre-storm state of your home. You may never need this documentation, but it will be very important if you need to file an insurance claim after a storm.

7 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for your FamilyStock Up on Bottled Water

You see it every year on television and in your local grocery store – carts piled high with bottles of water and empty shelves. Avoid the rush and stock up on water before the hurricane season begins. You can simply add any leftover or unused bottles to your pantry when the season comes to an end.

Stock Up on Lights and Batteries

Even a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane can cause your home and neighborhood to lose power. Having a backup source of light will help you in a variety of ways, from finding and starting the generator to entertaining the kids. High-powered light sticks will last for more than one season and provide plenty of light for 12 hours each, while flashlights and LED lanterns are handy for room and reading lights. Double-check the batteries you keep in your emergency supplies and swap out any that are expired or near expiration for new ones at the start of each hurricane season.

7 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for your FamilyStore Food and Cooking Items

You don’t have to become a survivalist or expert in hurricane preparedness, but we recommend purchasing a variety of non-perishable and easy-to-prepare food items as a key component of your emergency supplies. Storing a few days’ worth of food and snacks that the family likes will help you be ready and all times and keep you from the last minute grocery store rush if a storm does head your way. A can opener and pans that will work on the grill are must-haves for your food stash as well.

Organize Your Paperwork

Make sure you have the most recent copy of your insurance policy and copies of any important documents you need. Store a copy of each with your hurricane supplies for quick retrieval. Include copies of your car or boat insurance and even your pet’s immunization records. You may need to evacuate your home, and having this documentation as part of your emergency supplies makes it easier to bring your pet along for the ride.

Use the Cloud

Cloud computing isn’t just for businesses – you can back up your personal photos, documents, and videos into the Cloud and retrieve them from wherever you are headed. While having a backup is always a good idea, it is essential to backup important items at the start of hurricane season. When a storm is forecast for your area, you’ll already have everything you need stored and ready for access, whether you evacuate or ride out the storm at home.

Hopefully, you won’t receive any unwanted storms this hurricane season, but it never hurts to get your family ready in advance by following these helpful hurricane preparedness tips.

Empty Water Shelves image courtesy of squirrel83.

Canned Goods image courtesy of USDAgov.

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About 

Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Adam P. Newton never acquired the charming accent that most life-long Texans possess in spades, but he’s OK with that. Adam currently creates and curates online content for Direct Energy. Before his career in content marketing, Adam spent several years toiling as a music journalist.

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