By Anita Byer, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk
Hurricane season 2023 is nearly underway, so it’s time to start preparing…today. Perfect timing too, because the first week of May is Hurricane Preparedness Week. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsors this week to raise awareness of the hazards posed by tropical storms and hurricanes. As the frequency and severity of storms increase, so too does the importance of preparation. Hurricane season 2023 begins June 1st. Are you prepared?
If not, NOAA offers the following tips to help you get started.
Know your risk (water and wind). Find out what types of storm-related wind and water hazards exist where you live. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Dangerous and destructive winds can make their way hundreds of miles inland. Damaging waters can also extend well beyond the coastline, flooding areas indiscriminately, regardless of flood zone designation. Those living in unsound structures or flood-prone areas must know in advance if it is safe to stay home during a storm.
Develop an evacuation plan. Where will your family go if you are ordered to evacuate? Know your hurricane evacuation zone and develop an evacuation plan that specifies where to go and how to get there. Don’t forget your pets! They may not be allowed in shelters and hotels, so find suitable accommodations now so they don’t get left behind.
Assemble disaster supplies. Whether you’re evacuating or sheltering-in-place, you will need sufficient supplies to get through the storm and its potentially lengthy aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 3 days (longer, if possible). Remember to get gas, cash, batteries and flashlights. Consider a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for cell phones. Gas tanks should be kept at least half full (EV batteries charged at least 50% – 80%) throughout hurricane season.
Strengthen your home. Make sure your home is ready to withstand the wind, rain and flooding a hurricane can bring. Check to see if your home meets building code specifications. Consider retrofits, many of which are not as costly or time consuming as you may think. Renters should work with their landlord to prepare for a storm.
Help your neighbors. Talk to your neighbors about their hurricane plans and preparations. Discuss how you can help one another prepare before a storm and rebuild after.
Have a written plan. Preparing a written plan can help identify your family’s unique needs and understand what must be done to protect those you love during a storm. Write down your hurricane plan and make sure everyone in your household knows and understands it.
Get an insurance check-up. NOAA stresses the importance of insurance, particularly during hurricane season. Make sure you have enough insurance to repair or replace your home, car and any other property that might be damaged during a storm. Don’t forget about insurance for your business. Remember, standard policies do not cover flooding, so you will need a separate flood insurance policy for your home and business.
It only takes one storm to make it an active hurricane season for you. Take advantage of Hurricane Preparedness Week. Start preparing before the lines grow long and supplies run short. Contact our team of experienced and responsive insurance and risk management professionals to find affordable options to protect your home and your business in the event of a hurricane.