The 2017 hurricane season taught us the importance of being prepared. As Hurricane Irma approached in September, gas stations were emptied and grocery store shelves were bare. Many scrambled to get necessities for their emergency kits.
Last month, experts at Colorado State University predicted another busy season, with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes expected in 2018. That’s just above the average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
So with the 2018 hurricane season on the horizon, here are the top five things you can do to prepare your family and your home before June 1.
- Stock Your Disaster Kit: It should include enough food, water, medications and supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Don’t forget to include enough food and water for your pet as well. Supplies should include flashlights with extra batteries, clothing, a battery-powered radio and a first aid kit. Start preparing your disaster kit now by shopping the sales. Keep your eye on BOGO deals each week to get a head start on stocking up.
- Write or Review Your Family’s Emergency Plan: Jot down information about how to get in touch with each other in an emergency, where you will go and your best evacuation route. Designate a safe room to use if you are not required to evacuate and will be riding out the storm at home. It should be a small interior room, closet or hallway on your home’s lowest level. Try to keep as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
- Prepare the Outside of Your Home: Trim your trees well in advance of a storm, removing any trees or limbs that are damaged. Additionally, clean and secure all gutters to avoid flooding.
- Check Your Insurance Policies: It’s important to ensure that you will be covered for anything related to a natural disaster, including flooding. Be sure to prepare your home and vehicles in accordance with your insurance policies so any damages will be covered. Also, walk around your entire home now and take photos of everything, from expensive items like televisions and computers to clothing items and dishes. Open drawers and cabinets to document all items. Doing this ahead of a storm allows you to prove ownership of these items to your insurance company should you need to file a claim, something that could be nearly impossible to do when the damage has already been done.
- Gather and Store Important Documents: Birth certificates, social security cards and insurance policies should be kept in a safe place year-round, but move them to a plastic bag or other waterproof storage container when a storm is heading your way. Many hotels will ask for health documents for your pet if you need a room during an evacuation, so keep a copy of their shot records with your important paperwork.