Five Things You May not Necessarily Consider When Preparing for a Hurricane

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    If there is one adage that befits making preparation for the Atlantic Hurricane Season, it is, ‘make hay while the sun shines’.  This proverb underscores the wisdom of getting things done when situations are favourable.

    The six-month-long Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1, and according to the forecast provided by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project team, there will likely be 19 named storms, including nine hurricanes, four of which will be major hurricanes.

    Hurricanes can cause loss of life and significant damage to property.  Every effort therefore should be taken to make the necessary preparations so that the impact on life and property can be minimised.

    Some of the quite familiar hurricane preparedness tips include stocking up on water, non-perishable food, battery-operated radios, batteries, flashlights, medication, tools and sanitary items etc.  In terms of the physical structure of buildings, the advice is to securely fasten galvanized sheetings to reduce the chance of them being blown off, install hurricane shutters to secure glass windows from being broken and cut tree limbs that are near the house.

    However, there are other rarely mentioned hurricane preparedness tips that are just as important.  Here are five of them:

    1. Stock up on disposable food containers and utensils
      Water supply is likely to be disrupted following a hurricane. Disposable plates, cups, forks, knives and spoons will eliminate the need to use stored water for washing plates and cutlery.  Disposable food containers are lightweight, therefore, making them convenient to take along in the event that you and your family have to evacuate to a shelter.  Additionally, have extra paper towel, wipes and hand sanitizer to help maintain food hygiene if stored water is limited.
    2. Wash dishes and launder clothes
      Again, because water supply may be an issue, ensure that clothes and dishes are washed before the arrival of a hurricane so you do not have to use up limited water in storage. Also, iron clothes beforehand as it is common for power outages to last for days or even weeks following a hurricane.
    3. Keep a large supply of large trash bags
      Trash bags are ideal for keeping pillows, linens, clothes, books and documents dry.  They can be used to stuff openings that are leaking and can be worn as raincoats and rain hats if it becomes necessary to go outdoors during the hurricane.  Trash bags are also convenient to transport clothing and linen should you have to go to a shelter. Furthermore, as garbage collection is often delayed following a hurricane, large amount of trash bags will be needed to store the extra garbage and hurricane debris.
    4. Take photos of your home and content
      Photograph or videotape your home and contents.  This will provide proof to your insurer that the damage to your property did not exist prior and will help to accelerate the payment of claims.  Importantly, store the images and footage offsite or in cyberspace in case your home is affected by the storm and the device used becomes damaged.Joseph Holness, assistant general manager, JN General Insurance Company, advised that homeowners do an audit of their home insurance policy.“It’s particularly important for homeowners to check that their home insurance policy is up to date and that their home is insured for the replacement value. The replacement value of the property may change due to inflation associated with construction costs or home improvement projects implemented.   This audit of your insurance will ensure that your property is fully covered in the event of loss caused by a hurricane,” he said.
    5. Get Sandbags
      One common feature of hurricanes is flooding. If your home is at risk of being flooded, sandbags can effectively divert flood water up to two feet high, if the bags are correctly filled and placed.This hurricane season, don’t be caught off guard. Prepare early while conditions are favourable.  A hurricane can be stressful.  Early preparation helps to mitigate damage to property and reduce stress.