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Hurricane Survival Tips

Hurricane Survival Tips: What You Need To Know

Scroll down to find out how to prepare for a storm.


To make sure your home is prepared:

    -Most coastal houses can be strengthened fairly easily. Have a family plan and rehearse it. Do not wait until the hurricane is approaching to decide who is going to be responsible for the tasks to prepare your home.

    -Trim trees and bushes before hurricane season so that the wind can blow through easily. Limbs can become projectiles, breaking windows and damaging roofs.

    -Make a list of loose items that need to be brought in or tied down such as patio furniture, garbage cans, plants, pool filter, etc. Don't forget the mailbox and TV antenna.

    -Inspect the roof for loose tiles or shingles and debris.

    -Know the location of the main electric breaker, water valve and gas valve.

    -Put up your shutters to make sure: they fit; that you have all the necessary parts; that you remember how to install them.

    -You now have more choices than ever for protecting your home. All shutters, impact-resistant windows, doors, and garage doors that have county approval are very strong. Check with your county Building and Zoning Department to be sure that the products that you are buying are approved.

    -Impact-resistant windows with the "glass" made out of a polycarbonate (plastic) or a sandwich of glass and plastic are cheaper than ever, and little or no more money than new windows and new shutters. Consider this alternative if you are building a new house or replacing your old windows.

    -If you protect every opening in your house with shutters or impact-resistant windows that meet the current building code, your house stands a very good chance of surviving a hurricane intact.

    -Every shutter, door, garage door, window, skylight, and awning that was sold before the new building code went into effect in September 1994 does not meet then new code.

    -If you have a pool, keep extra chlorine on hand to help prevent contamination in the event of a hurricane.

    -Photograph or videotape your house, as well as your personal belongings, to help document any losses. Put the negatives or tapes in a waterproof container, a safe deposit box, or send to an out of town friend or family member for safe keeping.

    -Keep a master list of all your important documents including tax returns, insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates, and your will.

    -Real estate dates and documents are also important and should be placed in a fireproof lock box in your house.


To make sure your boat is prepared:

    -Plan where your boat will be in the event of a storm.

    -If you plan to move it, make sure your vessel is in good running order, is fueled, and batteries are charged.

    -Coordinate mooring plans with the boat owners around you.

    -Find out from the Dock Master what the marinas hurricane plans are, so you can plan accordingly.


To make sure your pet is prepared:

    -Pets are not allowed in evacuation centers and shelters. Only animals such as seeing eye dogs are permitted.

    -If you live in an evacuation zone and plan to go where your pet will not be welcome, make arrangements for a safe place for your pet prior to a hurricane.

    -Call your veterinarian to find out where you can board your pet if a hurricane threatens.

    -Contact hotels and motels in non-evacuation areas to see if they will allow you and your pet to stay with them during a storm.

    -Make sure you have supplies for your pets for two weeks.


To make sure you are ready to leave your home:

    -Do not count on going to the airport and flying out. If the hurricane moves quickly or develops suddenly, there will be no planes available.

    -Decide where you will park your car(s). A garage is best; right next to the house is second best. Plan to move your boat early. People die in every hurricane trying to save their boat. Do not let that happen to you.

    -Decide now where you and your family will go when the next hurricane threatens. Decide on a specific place. The protected house of a friend outside of the evacuation zone is best; a shelter is a last resort.

    -It is not recommended that you stay in any structure without good shutters or properly designed.

    -Plan now how you are going to protect your property. Learn about shutters and other alternatives for protecting your house or apartment. If you doubt the safety of your house, have it evaluated by an engineer.


To make sure your insurance policy is prepared:

    -Review your homeowners policy every year before hurricane season begins June 1.

    -If your property value has increased, you've added an addition, or you've purchased expensive items such as computers, stereo equipment, etc., you may want to increase your coverage.

    -Check your policy for windstorm and flood coverage. Your standard policy does not cover flood damage. You or your agent can obtain flood insurance by calling the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-638-6620, but be advised there is a waiting period, so you must do this in advance of a hurricane threat.

    -If you rent, purchase renters insurance for your personal property.

    -Know what your policy does and does not cover. Many policies will not give you the money to "replace" the damaged contents of your home. You will just get the cash value, which is often far less than the cost of replacement. Be sure to check and see if your policy will pay for temporary living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable. Ask your agent detailed questions to be sure you know what coverage you have.


To make sure your business is prepared:

    -Place proper shutters on all openings.

    -Make sure the computer system is backed-up regularly and have a safe place for storing all of your records.

    -If your building is in an evacuation zone, establish where you will evacuate any equipment or materials.

    -Remove any equipment, materials or outdoor items, which could become airborne debris.

    -If the building is put out of service, determine how much of the business can be operated from a temporary site.

    -Have battery back-up for your PBX or multi-line phone equipment.

    -Consider phone company services that allow you to forward your calls to working numbers or answering systems, even if your business phones are knocked out.

    For help with a business plan, contact your county Emergency Management Office.


To make sure employees are prepared:

    -Establish a hurricane team within your company with employees assigned to specific tasks.

    -Assign a team to put up shutters, one to prepare the physical plant and one to secure and protect all company records.

    -Inform clients that you're shutting down early and when you plan to re-open.

    -Make sure your staff has adequate identification and copies of licenses in order to be let into a restricted area.

    -Produce a plastic card for all employees with key telephone numbers to keep in their wallet.

    -Establish a special telephone number with an answering machine that you will keep updated to inform employees of the status of company operations or assignments. Use a phone number (having both an 800 number and a direct-dial number is best) in an out-of-town branch if possible, since long distance service is usually more reliable than local service after a storm.


Keep these supplies on hand at home:

    -Decide now who will be responsible for your water supply. You do not need bottled water from the supermarket. Have containers on hand to hold tap water.

    -You'll need enough for drinking, bathing and to flush the toilet. The bathtub is a good place to hold nondrinking water. Use caulking to seal the drain.

    -Sterilize your containers for drinking water with a little bleach (nonflavored) and water. Slosh it around, rinse the container and fill it from the tap. Do not end up in line for water after a hurricane.

    -For cooking, supplies include:

    - sterno

    - portable camp stove or grill

    - stove fuel or charcoal and lighter fluid

    - disposable plates, cups and eating utensils

    - napkins and paper towels

    - aluminum foil

    - oven mitts

    -For non-perishable foods, supplies include:

    - canned meats, fruits, vegetables

    - bread in moisture-proof packaging

    - cookies, candy, dried fruit

    - canned soups and milk

    - powdered or single-serve drinks

    - cereal bars

    - condiments

    - instant coffee and tea

    -For equipment, supplies include:

    - manual can opener

    - flashlight

    - portable battery powered lanterns

    - glass enclosed candles

    - battery powered radio or TV

    - battery operated alarm clock

    - extra batteries, including hearing aids

    - ice chest and ice

    - first aid kit, including aspirin, antibiotic cream and antacids

    - mosquito repellent

    - sun screen (SPF 45 recommended)

    - waterproof matches/butane lighter

    - money

    - bleach or water purification tablets

    - maps of the area with landmarks

    - disposable diapers and moist towelettes for babies

    - formula, food and medication for babies

    - photo copies of prescriptions

    - photo identification

    - proof of residence (utility bills)

    - medical history

    - waterproof container for document storage

    - back up discs of your home computer files

    - camera and film

    - prescriptions (one month supply)

    - toilet paper

    - soap, shampoo and detergent

    - toiletries and feminine hygiene products

    - changes of clothing - extra glasses or contacts

    - bedding: pillows, sleeping bags

    - rain ponchos and work gloves

    - entertainment: books, magazines, card games, etc.

    - tools: hammer, wrenches, screw drivers, nails, saw

    - trash bags (lots of them)

    - cleaning supplies

    - plastic drop cloth

    - mosquito netting

    - ABC rated fire extinguisher

    - masking or duct tape

    - outdoor extension cords

    - spray paint

    - rope

    - one gallon of water per person per day (half for drinking, half for bathing etc.) Store water in clean, plastic containers such as soft drink bottles or milk jugs.

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