There is a 75% chance of "above normal" hurricane activity this year, warns the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Here are five simple precautions you can take to protect your home and family from a hurricane:
Have an evacuation plan.
Designate a family meeting spot where you can seek shelter and make sure everyone knows how to get there. To be safe, keep a map in the glove box of the car with the route to the family meeting spot marked in indelible ink. Don't forget to make arrangements for family pets. Not all shelters are animal friendly.
Choose a point of contact.
Speak to a friend or relative out of state about being a point of contact in case you are separated. Ask if you can use his or her home as a gathering place if needed.
Prepare a disaster kit.
Put together a portable kit, including three days worth of food and water, a battery-powered radio and flashlight, an emergency contact list, soap and other personal hygiene items, cash or credit card, and first aid materials. If anyone in your family requires regular medication, be sure to include an ample supply in the kit.
Consult a contractor.
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, have an expert examine your home to determine if the shutters or hurricane straps need to be reinforced.
Buy flood and property policies to cover damage to your home and belongings. Remember that there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance coverage begins.
For further information, visit the FEMA Web site at ; for immediate aid call 1-800-621-FEMA.
By Marshall Loeb