Of all the natural disasters, hurricanes allow for the most time to seek safety and protect the home. Here are some safety tips for those who could be in the path of a storm.
Before the storm hits:
- Have an evacuation plan.
- Remember, insurance companies do not cover rising water; this coverage is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program or through FMIC’s Inland Flood Coverage, if added to your policy.
- Put together a first aid kit.
- Take a serious look at your home. Will it withstand high winds? If you don’t have storm shutters, install them or nail plywood panels to the window frame to protect windows.
- Take inventory of home belongings.
- Listen to local news or the weather channel and heed the advice; do not try to wait out the storm.
Once the warning to evacuate goes out:
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Secure your home, close storm shutters, and lock down outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Moor your boat, if time permits.
- Be sure you have a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Have the following ready to go:
- Computer (hard drive or laptop)
- Important papers such as insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s licenses, deeds, stocks, bonds, etc.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one:
- Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors and secure/brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed.
- Go to a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
- Lie under a table or another sturdy object.
After the storm:
- Wait for an OK from the police or local emergency management before re-entering your home or leaving the reinforced room.
- Boil tap water before drinking or cooking, or use bottled water.
- Keep circuit breakers turned off until the power is back on, then check for frayed wires or burning smells. Turn off the electricity if you detect these or other problems.
- Stay away from power lines.
- Check for gas leaks. If you there is a leak, leave the house immediately and notify the gas company at once from a safe location.
- Check your house for any wildlife that may have entered with the floodwater.
- Any medicines and/or food (even canned goods) touched by floodwater must be thrown out.
- Let your car dry out before trying to start it.
- Document any damaged property or possessions. Do not throw away any items without first getting approval from your insurance claims adjuster.