With three hurricanes barreling up the Atlantic right now, one can’t help being reminded of the devastation a hurricane can bring. Sandy was just a few short years ago and many parts of Long Island are still recovering. While still not as common for New York than lets say Florida, major storms like hurricanes pose a dangerous threat to Islanders. It is important we know how to keep ourselves safe during a storm. Preparedness is the key to surviving during a storm.
Here is can help you plan ahead so you never have to face a storm unprepared.
Check your insurance coverage
Regular homeowners insurance does not cover floods. Flood insurance mandates have changed since Sandy. Make sure your policy reflects the current state of your home and is up to date with payments. Also check your deductible so you know how much you will be on the hook for after flood and storm damage. Remember it goes off the price of your home, someone with a $400k home with a 5% deductible could be responsible for $20,000 of damage before their insurance will kick in.
Do a home inventory
Document the contents of your home with a video camera or through itemized lists to help with filing insurance claims later. Keep receipts for valuable items and consider separate coverage for these things. A tip to keep irreplaceable items like photographs or important paperwork that you can’t take with you is to put them in your dishwasher during the storm. Dishwashers are usually water tight and are less likely to get damaged in flood waters. It’s not 100% fool proof, but it is worth the effort to try. (Just don’t forget to take those items out before you start your dishwasher!)
Protect Your Property :
- While some of the devastating effects of nature can’t be avoided, there are some things you can do to your home to mitigate the damage caused by the heavy winds and rains of a hurricane.
- Install hurricane shutters or keep ¾ inch outdoor plywood boards for each window. If using boards, be sure to install anchors and pre-drill holes so you can put them up quickly.
- Install head and foot bolts on doors for extra protection.
- Hurricane straps or clips to help hold the roof to the walls of your home.
- Also, be sure to keep up with your landscaping; diseased and damaged tree limbs can become serious hazards in high-speed storm winds.
Create a Disaster Supply Kit
A 2-week supply of water and ready-to-eat, non-perishable food for every family member and pet. The rule of thumb for water is 1 gallon per day, per person. With water shortages common before a storm, filling up freezer bags with filtered tap water and putting them in the freezer before the storm hits will benefit you in two ways 1) it will help keep frozen food cold if there is a power outage 2) it will provide safe drinking water after the storm. Fill the bathtub up with water to keep your toilet in working order.
Other things to include in your disaster kit are:
- Manual can opener
- Essential medicines including eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste
- Change of clothing
- Paper towels, hand sanitizer, and eating utensils
- First-aid kit
- Battery-powered flashlight and radio with extra batteries
- Blankets, pillows and sleeping bags
- Mosquito repellant and citronella candles
- Plastic tarp for roof/window repairs and tools
- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
Have an established evacuation plan
Every family should have an evacuation plan and a backup. If you don’t have transportation of your own, make arrangements now with friends or family members and don’t forget about the pets! If you are planning to evacuate with your pets remember pet friendly shelters and hotels fill up quickly, better to be safe than sorry and book early.
Keep your disaster kit and personal documents at the ready to leave at a moments notice.
Some important documents to keep on you during a disaster are.
- Driver’s license or personal ID
- Social security card
- Proof of residence (deed, lease or utility bills)
- Insurance policies (home, auto, flood, wind)
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Stocks, bond and other negotiable certificates
- Wills, deeds, and copies of recent tax returns
- Personal checkbook and any unpaid bills
Don’t take silly risks like running back into a home that’s been destroyed or refuse to evacuate when you’ve been ordered to, just to salvage material possessions. Things can be replaced, but people cannot.