June marks the beginning of hurricane season in Florida and throughout the East Coast and Gulf regions, and now is the time to get prepared. Facing natural disasters like major hurricanes is a nerve-wracking ordeal, but knowing you’re prepared can help you weather the storm with greater confidence and self-assurance. Here are a few things you should do to make sure you’re ready:
- Make a list of contact information and numbers. These can be for your banks, utilities, insurance agent, doctor, pharmacy, landlord, loved ones – whomever you think you’d need to contact during an emergency.
- Put together a “natural disasters” kit. If you’re ordered to evacuate, having essential items rounded up can help you get moving quickly. Even if you stay put, box up supplies like flashlights, matches, blankets, extra water, some canned food and pet food, a can opener, first aid kit, medications and personal hygiene products. Keep this box in a convenient location. Include a battery-operated radio (and batteries) so you can tune in for emergency updates, and consider investing in a solar-powered charger for your cell phone. One more advantage of having a well-stocked kit: You avoid the inevitable panicked rush to the store when the news announces a hurricane is bearing down.
- Have supplies on hand to board up windows and tape glass so breakage is contained. Be ready to bring in patio furniture and other items or keep large items tethered to stakes to prevent them from flying into your windows or damaging someone else’s property. You’ll also want to clear your rain gutters.
- Make an emergency plan. If you or your loved ones are away from home when the storm hits, make sure you’ve identified a safe spot where you can all meet. Make sure you include your pets in any emergency and evacuation plans, too.
- Review your insurance coverage and decide if you need flood coverage or additional coverage for storm-related damage before hurricane season hits. Flooding can occur in the blink of an eye, and hurricanes can cause widespread damage including significant structural damage. You can rate your flood risk, or better yet, ask your agent to review your policy and make recommendations based on your specific risks and property values.
Being prepared for hurricane season and other natural disasters can provide you with plenty of peace of mind. Before hurricane season hits, call your insurance agent to make sure you don’t suffer big losses as a result of this summer’s major storms.
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