JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Be ready for hurricane season. You can determine your personal hurricane risk, find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, and review/update insurance policies. You can also make a list of items to replenish hurricane emergency supplies and start thinking about how you will prepare your home for the coming hurricane season. If you live in hurricane-prone areas, you are encouraged to complete these simple preparations before the hurricane season begins on June 1.
Day one: Determine your risk
The threats from hurricanes to you and your family can vary widely depending on where you live. It’s not just those along the coast that can experience significant, life-threatening impacts. Evaluate what you need to do to protect your home and family NOW, before the first storm of the season even forms.
Day two: Make an evacuation plan
Take some time this week - Hurricane Preparedness Week - to make sure you have a hurricane evacuation plan. The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane.
If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.As hurricane season approaches, listen to local officials on questions related to how you may need to adjust any evacuation plans based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and your local officials.
Day three: Build your hurricane kit
Just having enough supplies to make it through a hurricane isn’t enough. You need plenty to make it through what could be a LONG recovery period too. Water and electricity could be out for a week or more. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family for a MINIMUM of one week.
Also make sure you have extra cash, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger to charge your cell phone.
The CDC recommends if you need to go to a public shelter, bring at least two cloth face coverings for each person and, if possible, hand sanitizer. (Children under two years old and people having trouble breathing should not wear face coverings). ready.gov/kit
Day four: Get an insurance checkup
Know what your policy covers, what it doesn’t, and what costs and deductibles you are responsible for. This Hurricane Preparedness Week, call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding.
Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for flooding. floodsmart.gov. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.
Day five: Strengthen your home
If you plan to ride out a hurricane in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand high winds.
Learn more here: fema.gov/what-mitigation
Day six: Help your neighbor
Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions you and your neighbors can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes.
Start the conversation now with these neighbor-helping-neighbor strategies but remember you may need to adjust your preparedness plans based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and your local officials.
Learn about all the different actions your community can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes: ready.gov/neighbors
Day seven: write your plan down
The time to prepare for a hurricane is NOW, before the season begins. Once you’re under pressure, having a written plan will take the guesswork out of what you need to do to protect you and your family.
Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. You don’t want to be standing in long lines when a Hurricane Watch is issued. Those supplies that you need will probably be sold out by the time you reach the front of the line.
Being prepared now will mean the difference between your being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor.ready.gov/make-a-plan