From 1981 to 2010, there was an average of 2 hurricanes per year. That may not sound like a lot, but one major storm can do a lot of damage. If you live anywhere near a hurricane zone, you need to have and follow a hurricane prep list. That way, you can handle any storm in stride, and you can keep yourself and your family safe.
Keep reading to learn how to prepare for a hurricane.
1. Know What You Have
First, you should figure out what you have inside your home. Make a list of everything you have, and you can categorize the list in a few ways. You can organize your list by the room the item is in or who in your family owns it.
Whatever you choose, you should consider as much as possible. You may not need to keep track of every pen or piece of paper. But be sure to track things like appliances, electronics, and other valuables.
Update the list once or twice a year or when you acquire or get rid of something major. That way, you won’t have to track items you don’t own, but you can know what you do own to prepare for a hurricane.
2. Figure Out Your Risk
Another thing to add to your hurricane prep list is to figure out how likely a hurricane is to affect you. If you live in one of the gulf states, your odds are higher, especially near the coast.
But hurricanes have traveled as far north as Massachusetts. If you live along the east coast you should consider hurricane preparation.
And if you live a little ways from the coast, you should also prepare. Your risk may not be as high as someone in Florida or New Orleans, but you could face some hurricane effects.
If there’s any chance of a hurricane hitting where you live, you should prepare. That way, you can get the right insurance and take stock of your belongings before something goes wrong.
3. Check Your Insurance Policy
Next, you should review the insurance policy on your home, car, and any other property, such as musical instruments. Know what those policies cover when it comes to damage or loss during a hurricane.
When it comes to insuring your house, you may want to adjust the policy to cover the cost of rebuilding your house. It can sometimes be higher than the value of your current home, so you should get as much coverage as you can.
If you own a car, you should get car insurance that includes storm coverage. You will probably need to pay more than if you went without it, but that extra insurance can help if your car floats away.
4. Add Flood Insurance
If you don’t already, you should add flood insurance to your homeowner’s insurance policy. It can cover property damage from floods, so it can help even if your home is still structurally sound.
Flood insurance can protect your appliances and furniture. But it can also cover rugs, blinds, and some artwork you may have.
You can get coverage for these items in your regular policy. However, adding flood insurance coverage isn’t a bad idea.
If you live right by the coast in a state with a lot of hurricanes, you can consider it an investment. That way, you have the protection you need next time you have to prepare for a hurricane.
5. Seal Doors and Windows
Next in your hurricane preparation, you should check the seals on all of your doors and windows. If they aren’t sealing completely, you should look into getting repairs or replacing the windows or doors in question.
Impact windows and doors can help protect you from blowing glass, and your door can stay on its hinge. If you get frequent hurricane warnings, it’s even more important to invest in good windows and doors.
Be sure to check all of your exterior doors and windows each hurricane season. You never know when the seal may start to wear down. If you check regularly, you can catch minor problems early on.
6. Secure the Sides
Another step to add to your hurricane prep list is to secure the sides of your home. If you have a deck or porch, make sure that it is strong and won’t break or blow off in a hurricane.
When that happens, it can damage other things nearby, such as your house or a neighbor’s property. You can reinforce the structure of a deck with extra nuts and bolts.
If you have a detached garage or a carport, you should also inspect those structures. You may want to have someone rebuild a carport with stronger materials or a sturdier foundation.
That way, you can keep those structures from blowing away in lower category hurricanes or tropical storms. Then, you don’t have to focus on as much during a hurricane.
7. Clear Your Lawn
Once you secure the larger things on your lawn, clean, and secure the smaller items. When preparing for a hurricane, bring in any outdoor furniture. Schedule an appointment with a local tree service to get rid of long or dead branches.
Your lawn should be free of anything that could possibly blow away and damage something. Now, you can still have a nice garden with some plants. But you should keep it minimal.
If you have kids, consider getting a smaller playset for the yard. Then, you can set it up and take it down whenever your kids use it.
8. Fix the Roof
Moving back to your house, you should inspect the roof and get rid of any chances of it leaking. Check the seal to ensure that water won’t get into your home during a major rainstorm or hurricane.
If you have the money, consider having professionals redo your roof. They can install a good seal so that you can be sure your roof is safe.
When preparing for a hurricane, you need to give all parts of your home a good seal. Your roof should also be strong and stable. If it caves in, you could be in a lot more danger during a hurricane.
And while you’re at it, check your gutters and clean them regularly. Even with a good roof, your gutters should be clear so that water can run down them and away from your home.
9. Make a Hurricane Kit
The next thing on any good hurricane prep list is to make a hurricane kit. Your kit should include emergency supplies and tools, from first aid supplies to light sources.
If the power goes out, you’ll need a flashlight or something else to light your home. You may also need bandaids and other supplies in case someone gets hurt.
Blankets can also help keep you warm if you or a family member gets cold. You can also include water and food so that you and your family can sustain yourself for a few days.
When preparing for a hurricane, pack this kit into a bag or bin that you can grab quickly. That way, you can take the kit if you need to evacuate your home in a short period.
10. Know How You Can Evacuate
If you get a lot of hurricanes, you’ll have to evacuate during a storm at some point. When preparing for a hurricane, consider all routes you have from your house and out of town.
Of course, if you live right by the coast, you may not have many choices. You may also have limited options if you live in a rural area.
Whether you have one way out or more, you should know the route. Consider driving it regularly before you have a hurricane warning.
Then, when you do have to evacuate, you will know what turns to make, even if it’s dark or pouring rain. Along with your route, consider finding a route with hotels so that you’ll have a place to stay.
11. Talk to Your Neighbors
You may not find this on every hurricane prep list. But you should talk to your neighbors throughout the year and during hurricane season.
Talking to your neighbors is important if you live near-elderly people or individuals who otherwise may need help. For example, you can see if a neighbor may need a ride if you experience an evacuation order.
You can also exchange your hurricane prep list with your neighbors and see what they’re doing. Consider exchanging phone numbers and other contact information so that you can find your neighbors if someone gets lost.
Then, you can all come together when you have a big storm, evacuation, or not. And, don’t be afraid to include your kids in these conversations so that they know how to prepare for a hurricane.
Checking off Your Hurricane Prep List
Whether you live in the heart of Florida or on the coast of Mississippi, you need to have a hurricane prep list. You can use the list to ensure your home is safe and ready for a hurricane.
But you can also use that list to learn where to go during a storm and how to contact others. That way, you can stay safe and protect everyone around you.
Do you want to learn more about owning a home? Check out the real estate section on our blog.