Hurricane season is here. Make sure you pay close attention to reports of all hurricanes and their predicted tracks. And most important, if a storm is headed our way, don’t leave your preparations until the last minute; be prepared well in advance of any storm making landfall in New England. Here are a few important tips to follow in your preparations:
Make A Plan
Make sure everyone in your family knows how to respond in the event of a hurricane. Consider having a family meeting to cover subjects like:
- What to do if there is a power outage
- How to handle personal injuries
- How to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches
- What to do if you have to evacuate
- Where to meet and whom to contact if you get separated
Prepare An Emergency Kit
Create an emergency kit and make sure everyone in your family knows where it is. If you are told to evacuate, take this kit with you. Include
- First aid items
- Battery-powered radio
- Bottled water
- Important documents (proof of residence, insurance policies, important tax records, pictures of family–including pets!)
Stock Up on Emergency Supplies
- Always make sure you have an adequate supply of non-perishable food and fresh water in your home–including food for infants, elderly, and people on special diets.
- If a hurricane is near, fill large containers and bathtubs with as much water as possible.
- Make sure you have an adequate supply of any medications your family needs.
- Make sure you have backup supplies for all medical equipment (oxygen canisters, backup batteries etc.)
Know Your Area
- Make sure you know your town’s emergency routes.
- Make sure you know where emergency shelters are in your area.
- If your town issues an evacuation order, take it seriously, don’t wait until the last minute to leave.
Educate Your Family
- Teach your children how and when to dial “911.”
- Post emergency telephone numbers by the telephones.
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
Prepare Your Home
- Board up windows for the most protection. (Using tape will not prevent glass from breaking but it will help reduce shattering.)
- Secure (or bring inside) anything that might tear loose and cause damage, including grills, porch furniture, awnings and the like.
- Check trees and shrubbery and remove limbs that could damage your house or utility lines.
- Turn off all propane tanks.
Fill Your Car’s Gas Tank
- If your town loses power during a hurricane, gas stations may be inoperable.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
- Read your policy; make sure you know exactly what coverage you have. If there is any part you don’t understand, call us. We’ll be happy to go over your policy with you and answer any questions you may have.
- See whether your homeowner policy is for “replacement cost” (what it would cost to replace your home and contents at current value) or “actual cash value” (depreciated cost). Find out if your policy has an automatic “inflation guard” to keep up with current costs. Again, call us if you have any questions about these coverage options.
- Be aware that your homeowner policy does not cover flood damage. For this, you must have separate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Keep in mind that there is a 30-day waiting period on flood insurance from the time you apply to the day it is effective.
- If you rent, be aware that your landlord’s homeowners insurance does not cover your possessions. You need your own renters insurance.
- Keep in mind that when a hurricane watch or warning is announced, insurance agents cannot enact new insurance coverage until the watch or warning is cancelled.
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