Emergency Preparedness for Hurricanes

Hurricane preparedness takes knowledge. Learn everything you need to know about hurricanes to stay safe.

If you read our list of hurricane facts, you have a better appreciation and understanding of these massive, powerful and devastating storms. Capable of causing widespread destruction to both coastal and inland areas, preparing for a hurricane is an absolutely essential component of any home’s emergency preparedness plan. .

Learn what you can do now to prepare your home today and what you will need to do in the event of an impending hurricane to protect yourself, your family and your home.

First and foremost, and as we’ve emphasized previously, you should already have an emergency kit and family communication plan. If you haven’t done so already, read our article on what to include in an home emergency kit and download FEMA’s communication plan form.

What Are Your Risks?

Hurricanes bring many of nature’s forces together in one storm system, including incredibly powerful winds and torrential rains. Your preparations may vary based on where you live. For instance, if you live in Florida, the likelihood you’ll experience a hurricane is higher than someone living in the Midwest. In addition, if you happen to live on the coast, you need to be prepared for winds, rain and storm surge.

1. Know Your Risk(s)

Before you prep your home for a weather emergency, make sure you know what you need to protect for. Depending on where you live, you may need to focus on different measures of protection. (If you live on the coast, your home will be more at risk for extreme winds and flooding than homes set farther inland.)

2. Get Covered

Your insurance may not cover your home completely in the event of a hurricane. Remember, your home may be subject to flooding caused by storm surge. If you’re insurance coverage isn’t complete, you don’t want to find out when you go to file a claim. Find out now and upgrade or add additional coverage if needed.

3. Proof Your Home

Wind

Remember, hurricanes have been recorded generating winds in excess of 200 mph. Do not underestimate the destructive power of the wind. Not only can a hurricane blow in glass windows and doors with a single gust, but any object capable of being windblown becomes a lethal weapon during a wind storm.

Make sure all your doors are properly and securely attached to your home’s frame. If you have a garage, you can add metal stiffeners to improve the strength and integrity of the garage door. You can either have windows with hurricane-proof glass installed, but as they can be costly, most homeowners opt for storm shutters or high-density plywood.

Water

Whether from storm surge in coastal areas or excessive rain and slow moving storms, flooding is a common event during a hurricane. There are steps you can take now to flood-proof your home.

Check Your Foundation: Water will always seek the lowest level, so any crack in your foundation can lead to a flooded basement. Have your foundation checked and seal any cracks with mortar and masonry chalk.

Maintain Your House: Clean and clear your gutters, eaves and storm drains.

Suck it Up: Consider adding a sump pump (battery powered) to your home to mitigate incoming waters in your basement.

Build a Wall: For some, sandbags offer a last line of defense against rising waters. If you choose to use sandbags, do not use them alone. Include plastic tarp or plywood sheeting to create a ‘wall’ barrier to prevent water from seeping through.

To learn more about how to deal with flooding, read our article on what to do before a flood and what to do during a flood one.

4. Store Your Goods

Make sure your important documents (like copies of your insurance policy and receipts and valuables) are stored in a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box.

5. Protect Your Home

A home security system offers multiple benefits to homeowners, especially during a weather emergency. Even if power is out at home, your system can remain active with a backup battery. It’s an unfortunate reality, but criminals are creatures of opportunity – and there is no better time to act than when power is out and authorities are too busy saving people to respond to crime quickly. Adding a flood and water sensor will let you know if your home floods if you’ve evacuated. And with interactive services, you’ll be able to stay connected to your home no matter where you go to stay safe. You can learn more by reading our post on the best home security systems.

6. Power Up

Power outages are extremely common during a hurricane and can last days. Purchase a backup generator and make sure it is inspected and properly tested and maintained – and that you have plenty of fuel.

Follow these steps and you’ll be ready long before you have to worry about a hurricane. Next, we’ll cover what you’ll need to do to stay safe DURING a hurricane. And don’t forget to join in and participate in National Preparedness Month by visiting Ready.gov.

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