Katrina, Sandy, and Andrew are some of the names of the most recent devastating hurricanes that have hit the US.  Each hurricane season brings the potential for mass destruction to our area, especially since we live so close to the coast line.  Undoubtedly, we will see some effects of Hurricane Harvey, which is set to hit Texas’s coast- bringing with it devastating flooding to their area.  While there is no way we can prevent the impact that hurricane’s bring, we can keep ourselves prepared when the time comes. Here are some things you should NOT do in the event of a hurricane, along with some helpful tips in the event that we get one.

  • Boarding up your windows is a much safer and effective way to protect your home. Do not tape up your windows, as taping your windows almost does no good.
  • Don’t run a generator inside! The carbon monoxide it emits can kill you in minutes!
  • Don’t use a charcoal or gas grill indoors. The carbon monoxide and fire risk are too great!
  • Do not walk through flood waters! There are hidden dangers in those waters, such as snakes, downed power lines, and sewage (yuck!).
  • Do NOT stay after an evacuation has been ordered! Rescuers may not be able to reach you during the storm. “Waiting out” the storm is not worth your life!
  • Make arrangements for pets! Do NOT leave them behind to fend for their selves! If you are unable to take your pets with you, make sure that they have a place to go that is safe.

The Hurricane season is in full force, and it stays around much longer than our summer does.  While many people take a prospective impact of a storm as hype from the media, it is imperative for everyone to think about the worst-case scenario.  Take a look around a room in your home, notice all of the furniture, clothing, bedding, electronics, and other trinkets that you have acquired over the years. Each shirt, every pair of shoes, pants, dresses, sock, pillows, blankets, plates, picture frames, everything! What if you had to pay to replace everything in your home? If you do not have adequate coverage for your belongings, then you will likely be unable to replace everything in your home.  Even if you live a minimalist life style, the cost of your belongings amounts quickly. This is why it is wise to keep a detailed inventory of the belongings in your home, along with the value of each item.

In addition to making a home inventory list, you should also make a natural disaster prepare kit.  This kit will give you some semblance of peace in a situation that is anything but.  You can even get your kids in on making their very own storm-prepare kit, which would include things that they would like to do in the event that there is a power outage.  Some things that will help you prepare for a pending storm would be to first and foremost, stay informed.  By packing a radio or battery operated television, or if you have cell service and are able to keep informed via the web, you will be better instructed should the state require that you are in an area that must evacuate.  In addition to staying informed, you need to make sure that you and your family have a back-up plan in place.   This is a plan where you decide:

  • Where you will go in the event of an evacuation?
  • Which shelters are closest to you?
  • What items do you need to take with you?
  • Where are meet-up points where you and your family members will meet in the event that you get separated?
  • What are you plans for any pets you may have?

It is imperative that your entire family is on the same page, and fully understands the plan.  When times of chaos occur, it can be difficult to think clearly.  This is why going over your plans will help ensure that everyone knows what to do, and where to go.

Something else to consider is downloading several survival and news apps to your cell phone.  Even if you do not have cell service after a natural disaster such as a hurricane, there are still aps that work while not connected to the internet that will help you stay informed as to what is going on, and if there are any updates on the weather.  You can even download apps that are a great resource to helping you plan ahead, navigate your surroundings, locate where you can get help if needed, be able to respond to an emergency, and most importantly- keep you connected to your family and loved ones!

Speaking of staying connected to your loved ones, another great preparation idea is to make a contact list of family, friends, and other important contacts.  Thanks to our ever-evolving technological world, it is rare that people have numbers memorized anymore.  Making a list of important contacts on paper (and storing it in a Ziploc bag to keep it dry) is a great idea to have.  In addition to having this list, I would be remised if I didn’t suggest for you to also have a CORDED phone readily available.  I know, it’s an “ancient device”.  However, even when the power goes out, oftentimes a landline is still accessible.  So having a corded phone can prove to be a valuable asset to store.

When you know that a storm is predicted to hit your area, take a good look around your home at all of your trees. If there is a tree that could endanger your home, and you are able to cut it down, or trim branches off, it can help in the event that the winds knock it over.  After the storm, if you own a chainsaw (and know how to use it) you immediately become the neighborhood hero in the event of blocked roads due to a fallen tree.

Here is a quick check list of items that you should have in your kit to better help you and your family prepare for an upcoming storm.

For the Home:

  • Batteries (A variety of sizes)
  • Flashlights (with extra batteries designated only for flashlights)
  • Battery or solar powered lanterns
  • Battery powered NOAA Weather radio with extra batteries
  • Car charger for mobile phones
  • Battery operated digital TV with a car charger adapter
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Waterproof container or re-sealable plastic bag to store important documents such as insurance, medical, or bank numbers
  • Generator – if you already have one, make sure that it is working before a storm hits.
  • Matches (or some other sort of fire starter, such as kindling, paper, etc.)
  • Extra clothing
  • Extension cords
  • Cash – Credit cards will do you no good when the power is out! Make sure you have cash readily available.
  • Solar charges- keep your cell phones and other small gadgets powered up, even when there is no electricity.
  • Battery operated fan – this can be a great asset to help cool you off in the event of a power outage.
  • Flood insurance – even if you are not in a “flood zone”, it is still worth your time to call your insurance agent and have them do a free assessment of your property.

Food:

  • Fuel: you will need to fuel our generator, cook your food, and of course your car. Depending on your home, you will need to make sure that you have an adequate supply of propane, charcoal, firewood, or gas for the generator.
  • Non-perishable packaged or canned food
  • 1 gallon of drinking water per person for 5-7 days (Don’t forget, in times of extreme emergencies, your water heater has about 50-60 gallons of drinkable water too!)
  • Ice: Freeze water in freezer bags and two-liter soda containers
  • Fill coolers with ice. The ice can be utilized to keep food cold should the power go out
  • Fill our bathtub up with water, or use Waterbobs
  • Canned or boxed juices, milk, and other beverages
  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Peanut butter and jelly, granola bars, trail mix
  • Bread, crackers and cookies

Heath Essentials:

  • First Aid Kit
  • 2 week supply of any prescription medication
  • Vitamins
  • Over the counter pain reliever
  • Antibacterial hand soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Toiletries / Hygiene items (including feminine hygiene products if needed)

For your Pets:

  • Non-perishable food
  • 1 gallon of drinking water per day, per pet
  • Medications
  • Documentation, such as license and rabies information
  • Treats
  • Toy / chew bone

Lastly, I would air of the side of caution by highly recommending that you fill up every vehicle that you have with a full tank of gas.  In the event that roads are damaged, supply trucks will be unable to get to areas near you, which will result in a shortage of gas.  Additionally, if you feel that you need to evacuate, you will already have a full tank, and will bypass those who are ill-prepared and are now scrambling to find gas.  Often times, gas stations will have insanely long lines to fill up a vehicles, as well as limits on the amount of gas you can purchase. So, it is best that you take that time to make sure that each vehicle has a full tank.

No one really wants to think that a storm or event could happen that could cause massive destruction to their homes, however it happens every year.  Be sure to contact us to make sure that you have coverage on your property, and your belongings before any storms hit our area. Creating a plan for your family, and keeping yourself prepared are key elements that will help keep you calm in an otherwise stressful situation.

The Choice Insurance Agency serves thousands of households and small businesses in and around Hampton Roads with offices on the Southside and the Peninsula. The Choice Insurance Agency performs in the top 10% of all Nationwide Agencies across the country. Our team of 13 associates has a combined 175 years of experience in financial services with expertise in virtually all areas of protection and wealth-building. The Choice Insurance Agency’s mission is to get you from where you are to where you want to be, by helping you build your plan, achieve your plan, and protect your plan from uncontrollable events. In the process, we are committed to delivering to you the best financial products and services in the industry in a manner that exceeds your expectations.

Be sure to check out our Pinterest page for some great tips and ideas on how to prepare for a storm, and what you really need to pack.  You can never have too many resources to keep you prepared!

Wising You All the Best,

Lynda Drew

 

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The Choice Insurance Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events.  In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations.  See what The Choice Insurance Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-416-5100 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Choice Insurance Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-416-5100 .