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Hurricane-Prep Tips


An average of three hurricanes strike the U.S. coastline every two years, bringing the possibility of rain, flash floods and gusting winds. These violent storms often cause millions, sometimes billions, of dollars in damage to coastal areas of the U.S. Learn what you can do to help ensure you and your family are prepared.

Create an Emergency Plan

Sit down with your family and determine:

  • Where you'll find shelter (Use the Red Cross finder tool to find the nearest shelter, what you are allowed to bring and any restrictions, including those related to pets.)
  • Evacuation routes (Map the best route, as well as alternate routes, should roads be closed.)
  • How you'll communicate with each other in case of an emergency (Include all appropriate contact numbers in your communication plan.)
  • Ensure each family member has their own copy of the plan

Stock an Emergency Supply Kit

Often, when a hurricane warning is issued, people hurry to stock up on supplies. Avoid the lines, stress, and shortages by creating an emergency kit ahead of time. Your kit should include items such as:

  • First aid
  • Batteries
  • Candles, flashlights or oil lamps
  • Matches or lighter
  • Basic toolkit
  • Portable radio
  • Home repair items, such as tarps and plywood
  • A three-day supply of drinking water and non-perishable food for your family and pets
  • Medications you or your family and pets may need

Pack your supplies in a waterproof container and keep it somewhere that's easy to access, even in a storm.

Prepare Your Property

Take a look around the outside of your home and your yard. Hurricane-force winds can fling unsecured items, breaking windows, damaging roofs and battering doors. Keeping trees and bushes trimmed and removing tree limbs that could fall on your home or car may help mitigate damage.

Exterior doors should have at least three hinges and a one-inch deadbolt, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Consider installing impact-resistant windows and doors, replacing old garage doors with a wind-resistant model, or installing hurricane shutters. Finally, seal any exterior openings in your home, such as vents or electric outlets, with waterproof caulk.

Review Your Insurance Policies

Check with your insurance agent to make sure your current coverage is up to date. Review whether your policy includes the expense of temporary and permanent repairs, as well as additional living expenses if you are unable to return to your home. Having the conversation ahead of time can help provide peace of mind that comes with knowing you're covered.

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