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Tropical Storm Ernesto Reminds Us...
If A Hurricane Hits, Are You Prepared?
As Tropical Storm Ernesto loomed in the Atlantic, he was a good reminder that we are approaching the peak of hurricane season. Although Ernesto is not hitting Florida, it’s still a good time to think about Hurricane Preparedness. As realtors, we need to remind our sellers how important preparing for a storm is (I mean, really... how are you going to sell that house when there’s a tree through the skylight??)
The Atlantic hurricane season begins the first of June and is over on November first, “over” used liberally here... I was in Tallahassee in 1985 when Kate hit on November 15th and that was no picnic! The peak of the season between from mid-August to late October, this means we are just two weeks away from peak season. Tropical Storm Ernesto is in the Gulf of Mexico, but if he was to hit us, Are You (and your sellers) Prepared??
There are two major considerations when preparing for a storm; family and home. Each June it is a good idea to make sure hurricane supplies are stocked and your home is ready, however many of us wait until the last minute to get prepared. Let’s let Ernesto remind us that there is no time like the present to get prepared!
For Your Home:
These are simple tasks that can end up saving a lot of time and heartache after a storm.
1. Make sure your insurance policy in good order and you have the appropriate wind and flood coverage.
2. Take photos of the interior and exterior of your home, should anything happen this will make accounting for your items easier.
3. Save your home photos and important documents on a small flash drive, this way if you need to evacuate your home you have everything stored in one convenient spot. This is also a good way to save other documents, such as birth certificates, banking information, legal documents, etc...
4. On the exterior of your home, trim back all trees and shrubs.
5. Have a checklist of loose debris items that you’ll need to bring indoors when a storm hits (pool equipment, patio furniture, plants, toys, etc...).
6. Double check your hurricane shutters are in working order.
7. CASH; remember if the power goes out, ATM machine and credit card machines are out too, have plenty of cash on hand for emergency purchases.
For Your Family:
Your family is the most important thing you have, so make sure your disaster plan is in order well before the emergency. Your plan is not only an emergency kit, but also having a family communication plan. You may not be with all of your family members when a storm strikes a so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact each other; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. FEMA has put together a fantastic form for you to fill out and distribute to family. Download it here, fill it out and email it to your family.
You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, so have your hurricane kit ready to grab in the garage or even keep it in your car’s trunk. FEMA recommends a kit that will last at least 72 hours, a large rubber storage bin works well for gathering and organizing items.
1. Most important, WATER - one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
2. Second most important, FOOD - Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (try to avoid canned goods, they’re bulky, heavy and require a can opener; aim for bagged and boxed food items.)
3. Batteries - of ALL sizes you’ll need to operate various items.
4. Battery-powered radio and/or TV.
6. First Aid Kit.
7. Whistle; to signal for help.
8. Wipes; baby wipes aren’t just for babies, they’re a quick and easy way to stay clean and fresh.
9. Garbage bags; most likely garbage pick-up will be suspended, you’ll want to be ready for this.
10. Plastic tarps/sheeting and duct tape; we all know duct tape is one of God’s gifts to mankind, but having plastic tarps could patch a hole in your roof or wall in a pinch.
11. Tool Kit; have a basic tool kit with hammer, screwdriver, wrench and pliers. You never know if you’ll need to shut off utilities or make a quick repair to storm damage.
12. Clothing; three days worth of clothing. Remember the elements when going through your closet, don’t just pack flip-flops have sturdy work shoes or sneakers. Also remember a hat to keep from sun damage.
13. Rain gear; galoshes, umbrellas, ponchos.
14. “Mess Kits”; paper plates and cups, plastic utensils, paper towels.
15. Medical supplies; bandages, topical ointment, gauze, alcohol.
16. Personal hygiene; more wipes! toilet paper, feminine products.
17. Pet products; pet food, leash, crate, carrier, extra water.
If you would rather order a pre-assembled hurricane kit, here is a great website to help you get prepared - EmergencyPreparednessDepot.