Monday, June 30, 2014
According to the National Hurricane Center, the area of low pressure off the Florida coast has a high chance of forming into a tropical cyclone over the next five days. This is a good reminder to prepare your family and strengthen your home. These tips will help protect your home and family, and reduce stress before a storm hits.
Create a Family Emergency Plan: Plans should include copies of important documents including insurance policies, the deed to your home or rental agreement, evacuation information, a shelter-in-place plan, important phone numbers and a home inventory.
Build a Storm Kit: Kits should include items you will need for at least 72 hours after a storm. Always include water, nonperishable food, batteries, flashlights, a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, prescription medications and supplies for children, the elderly or pets.
Build a Home Insurance Inventory
A home insurance inventory complete with descriptions and photographs of your property will be an invaluable resource should you need to file an insurance claim. Use the Know Your Stuff resource available through the Insurance Information Institute (III) to help with this activity.
Hurricane Proof Your Landscaping
Take a day to make your landscaping more hurricane-resilient. Activities include replacing landscaping rocks with mulch or trimming back tree limbs that hang over your roof.
Clean Your Gutters
Your gutters will direct rainfall away from your home and prevent flooding, but only if they are clear and in good condition. Take the day to clear out leaves or any other debris. Make sure you don't have any rusted spots, holes or openings as well.
Strengthen Your Soffits
Properly installed soffits should keep water out of your home. Take the day to make sure yours have suitable caulking and screws.
Enhance Your Roof Sheathing Attachment
Proper application of the right caulk can increase the wind uplift resistance of your roof sheathing by as much as three times. This one day activity should be started in the morning, as attics can become quite warm in the afternoon.
Secure or relocate items outside the house that can blow around. Don't forget about trash cans, grills, toys and potted plants. Also, take time to look for any dead tree limbs and remove them carefully if you have time and use the Outdoor Inventory Checklist.
Know if you are in a hurricane evacuation zone and have a plan. Hurricane evacuation boundaries are based on the threat of water, not wind, and nearly all evacuation orders are issued due to threat of inland flooding and storm surge. Before you leave be sure to: Turn off the water, gas and electricity Leave a note that you have left and where you are going Be sure to lock your home
Review your family emergency plan. Be sure to review and update any evacuation plans.
Ensure your family emergency kit is complete. Your kit should include at a minimum: Enough food and water for all members of the family, including pets, for 72 hours Extra cash on hand A battery powered NOAA weather radio or download the FLASH Weather Alerts App First aid kit and toiletries Flashlights and extra batteries Blankets, pillows, extra clothes and toys and games to keep the family comfortable and occupied Special items for babies, family members with special medical needs and pets
Fill your gas tank; gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
Gather and store important paperwork like insurance papers, mortgage documents, marriage certificates, etc. in waterproof containers, scan copies on a USB drive or take pictures with a smartphone.
For more tips on how to protect your home and prepare your family this hurricane season visit www.charlestoncounty.org/guides.htm
*Tips above provided by FLASH: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country's leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 120 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster‐resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council, Kohler® Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, RenaissanceRe, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm™, USAA® and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. In 2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and manmade disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.