A hurricane can be a life-altering event. One that not only causes severe property damage, but shatters lives as well. It is important to have an emergency plan in place.
Before The Storm
These types of storms move quickly, and being prepared in advance can help you and your family minimize the impact of a storm. Below are steps that you can take to prepare:
1. Stock Up On Emergency Supplies
Supplies should consist of water, nonperishable foods, flashlights with extra batteries, a can opener, matches/lighters, first aid supplies, basic tools and a back-up supply of necessary prescription drugs. Having some blankets and extra clothing in water tight bags is a good idea.
2. Create A Family Emergency Plan
Have your family memorize a set evacuation route as well as alternative ones. The Department of Homeland Security strongly recommends that families agree on a central meeting location. As a family, answer some of these critical questions: What you will do with your pets? Where will you keep the emergency supplies? Who will be in charge of grabbing important documents? Where will you reunite in the case of severe damage? Pick someone out-of-state for your family members to contact if you get separated. Make sure your vehicles are full of fuel well ahead of an impending storm.
3. Prepare Your Home
Be sure that all weak branches and dead trees from your yard are removed. Install storm shutters or board up the windows. Bring all outdoor furniture, grills, bikes or large objects inside and away from the elements. Make sure you have tarps and bungee cords that can be used if a window breaks or your roof suffers any damage. This can help protect your property from broken windows, doors and openings in your roof that could lead to costly water damage.
4. Create A Home Inventory
This should be done in advance and is a good general practice to follow. A home inventory will ensure you have the proper insurance coverage and, in the event of a claim, will help speed up the process and assist in establishing the appropriate values for your personal property. Make sure your inventory list becomes a part of your important documents in the event you need to evacuate.
After The Storm
The aftermath of a major storm is difficult and hectic for families. Once you are able to reconnect and ensure all family members are safe, it is important to assess any damages caused to your property. Follow these steps to make recovering a little easier:
1. Check Your Surroundings
The first step should be to survey the property for any unusual odors that may indicate damage to gas lines or the presence of downed powerlines on or around your home.
2. Gather Photo-Evidence
Take pictures of any damaged property and document everything. This includes going room by room and making an inventory list of items underwater, damaged or missing. This can be tied back to the home inventory list. Do not throw anything away.
3. Protect Your Home From More Loss Or Damages
Take the necessary steps to protect your home from further damage. Board up any windows that may have been damaged, put tarps on any openings in the roof and be sure all of your valuable items are not left out in the open.
4. File A Claim
Contact your Ten Eyck Group agent to start the process of filing a claim.
5. Don't Get Scammed
Be aware of restoration and contractor scams. Only use licensed qualified professionals that are fully insured to perform the work. Do not sign repair contracts without checking with your insurance company first.
All of these steps are vital to protecting yourself, your family and your home from any type of severe weather. Please be sure to follow these guidelines in the event of severe weather and storms. You can also check out other steps provided on Ready.Gov to prepare for a storm.