Many in the Cape Fear region took quite a hit when Hurricane Florence rolled through in September of last year. With the most active period of hurricane season upon us yet again, we at Sweyer Property Management want to remind everyone of some hurricane prep best practices to employ as you prepare yourselves and your homes for any severe weather events that could pop up over the next few months.
When to Start Preparing
You should begin closely monitoring a storm just as soon as it is predicted to be heading towards eastern NC. Even if an impending storm is being forecasted to land as tropical storm or a lower category, it can still pack quite a punch – Florence rolled in as a Category 1.
As the storm’s path, projected arrival time and strength become clearer, start formulating plans for where your family will ride out the storm. Are you planning to stay in your home, or will you evacuate? Where will you go if an evacuation becomes mandatory? Do you know where the shelters in your area are located? All of these things are important to keep in mind and plan for well ahead of a hurricane making landfall.
Gathering Supplies and Readying Your Home
Whether you’re a seasoned hurricane veteran or fairly new to hurricane prepping, there are some things you should consider when readying yourself, your home and your family:
- Secure outdoor items such as furniture and trashcans or bring them inside if possible. Strong winds can quickly turn items such as these into projectiles
- Make sure all windows and doors are locked and secure
- Be sure to know the location of important documents and take them with you if evacuating
- If evacuating, follow the posted routes and leave as early as possible – traffic will only get worse as the storm approaches
- Have enough of your prescriptions to last at least a week
- Fill up your car with gas – if power is out for an extended period, there could be limited access to fuel
- Consider building a hurricane kit. Government experts recommend getting a few items for your kit every pay day and storing them in airtight plastic bags. You can find more information on what supplies to include here.
It is also always a good idea to make someone else aware of your plans whether they be family members, friends or coworkers. Have plans to check-in with each other when possible throughout and after the storm to ensure everyone has made it through safely.
Insurance, Repairs & Preventative Maintenance
If you are a homeowner, you might be faced with property damage after a severe weather event. This of course may mean dealing with insurance agents, deductibles and paperwork. By having a few things ready before a storm is ever forecasted to be heading our way, you can get a jump on repairs and insurance claims should they be necessary:
- Be sure you’re covered – talk with your insurance agent about the coverage you have on your property and find out if there is any additional coverage you should look in to purchasing. Many people found themselves without proper coverage after last year’s storm and ended up having to pay a lot of money out of pocket for repairs.
- Make sure you have your insurance documents handy – it will be much easier to contact your agent, adjustors, etc. post-storm if you know right where those documents are located
- If your property is governed by an HOA, find out what types of damages are covered by their master policies and if they are responsible for any preparation work
- Preventative Maintenance – Things like keeping tree limbs cleared back and having your gutters and downspouts regularly cleaned throughout the year can make your home less vulnerable to flooding or falling limbs when a hurricane comes through
Historically, September is the most active month of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. By taking the necessary steps now to ready your home and your family, you can ensure everyone’s safety, reduce stress and hopefully minimize some storm-related damages to your home.