September is here, do you know what that means? No, I’m not talking about back-to-school shopping. No, I’m not talking about taking the last vacation of the summer. I’m talking about hurricanes! According to the AOML, August, September and October are the peak months for hurricane activity on the Atlantic.
The AOML has predicted that 2008 will be an above average year. But even if you choose to ignore predictions, remember that a single hurricane is all it takes to endanger your family or rob you of your investments.
Are you prepared? Think you don’t have to worry about hurricanes? Read and find out!
Who is affected by hurricanes?
You don’t have to live in Florida or New Orleans to be affected by hurricanes. Did you know that in 1938 there was a hurricane that struck in the Northeast that left 600 dead? And, we don’t have to have a direct hit by a hurricane to suffer tremendous damage. The storm systems caused by hurricanes often cause power outages, flooding and wind damage for inland states. Don’t assume you won’t be affected. These tips will prepare you for other disasters as well, so read on.
Do you have proper insurance coverage? When was the last time you discussed your policies or updated them with your insurance company/agent? It could be well worth your time to do this in the next couple of weeks. While you’re there, you should also ask about umbrella coverage if you don’t have it already. As the name implies, this is a general purpose policy which provides additional protection above and beyond your existing policies. It is a relatively low cost insurance that can make a huge difference, if you have to file a claim.
Do you have a well thought-out evacuation plan? You can’t use a general plan created by someone else. Personalize yours to fit your needs. Here are some things to consider :
- Exit Strategy: Make sure everyone knows the quickest way to get out of the house in case of fire or other natural disaster. Seconds really do count!
- Meeting Place: Have an agreed-upon meeting place. The quicker you can do a headcount, the quicker you can move to locate anyone who didn’t make it out. Have 2 meeting place locations – one right outside your home (sidewalk or driveway) and the other off your property (friend’s house, library, or school)
- Contact Person: Specify one person to be the “caller”. If your family gets separated, and cannot get to one of those locations, have one person be the one communicator between the groups to save confusion and missed calls. Make sure everyone knows the contact person’s phone number!
Do You Know How to Prepare for a Storm? Here are a few other general tips for you to think about. If a storm is forecast, make sure you:
- Have a full tank of gas — gas stations can’t pump gas if the power is out.
- Secure your outdoor items so that they will not become airborne and injure you or someone else.
- Stock your disaster supply kit. In a serious storm, this could be well worth the effort. Include drinking water (at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day), food (canned, dry and other non-perishables which don’t require cooking, water or special preparation – and don’t forget a manual can opener), prescriptions and medications (three day supply recommended), first aid kit, flashlights, battery-powered lanterns, and AM/FM radio plus extra batteries.
- Prepare a pet supplies bag. Don’t forget your pets! – they’ll need food, water, medications, and leashes.
I certainly hope that the peak hurricane season will just “blow by us” without incident, but it never hurts to be prepared for whatever may be ahead.