Once you have the basics that we covered in part one, you need to develop your hurricane preparedness plan all the way home. You can start by checking out this guide from the United States Coast Guard, it covers the basics and more about what supplies you will need from first-aid kits to the hardware store. It’s an exhaustive list but it covers everything you could possibly need, so print it out and mark off items as you acquire and store them. Now we need to talk about the planning phase, in other words things you need to do outside of stocking up in order to keep your family and home safe.
- Insurance: You need to have a talk with your insurance agent at least once a year about your total insurance picture. You may want to link this to another annual event, such as changing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have just moved to the area, the first thing you should do is to acquire flood insurance which has a 30 day waiting period before the policy comes into effect. You will also want to acquire or update your windstorm insurance.
- Flooding risk: One of the first things that you will need to do is to determine your SLOSH zone. This map models different flood risks for different hurricane categories at high tide. For instance, you can see using this map that certain parts of Dania Beach have the potential to flood up to three feet in a category one hurricane, while a category three can flood the coast from the Keys all the way up Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Use this to determine the likelihood of being ordered to evacuate.
- Evacuation: You will need to familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and storm shelters in your local area. You will want to check with your local Humane Society to find a pet-friendly shelter if you will not be bringing your animals with you as many of these have preregistration requirements that will need to be fulfilled before a hurricane. You will also need to make a family disaster plan with provisions on how you will contact each other, who is responsible for pets, and how to find each other in the event of an emergency evacuation from school or work.
- Recovery: Just because the hurricane’s over does not mean that the danger is over. The words “disaster area” are not lightly used. The roads may be impassable, there may be standing floodwater, the power and other utilities might not be operational, and there may be other hazards as well. On top of that, your home may be damaged enough to be too dangerous to inhabit. Follow the Red Cross returning home checklist in order to do it safely.
Above all, if your home is damaged after a storm it is critically important that you do not fall for scams that offer to repair your home quickly. Scammers are using Assignment of Benefits to their benefit instead of yours. Do not under any circumstances sign away your right to repair your home as you see fit.