It’s that time of year again – the time the Gulf Coast is vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes. Though we have become seasoned in battening down our hatches and preparing for the stormy season, newcomers to the area might not know what to expect. Whether you’ve recently purchased a Gulf Coast home, are considering a move, or simply need a refresher on hurricane home preparedness, here are some tips to get you and your home through this volatile season:
Have a Hurricane Plan
Even when there’s no immediate threat of a hurricane, it’s nice to have a plan. This means you should:
- Know where to go in case of emergency. If you get an evacuation order, where do you report? How will you get there? Know your local evacuation route and plan accordingly. For more information, call your local emergency management agency.
- Have an emergency kit and a “go bag.” This should include disaster supplies like a flashlight, medications, first aid supplies, a battery-operated radio, and critical information about emergency contacts.
- If you don’t live in an evacuation area, have enough canned food, water, and supplies to last in the event of lost power and blocked roads.
- Create a plan to communicate with family members in case of emergency.
- Sign up for community-wide alerts, if available.
Prep Your Property
Next, take steps to prepare your home for possible volatile weather. Here are some suggestions:
- Trim and remove all loose or damaged tree branches, as high winds can make these fly into your home and create damage.
- Reinforce your roof, windows, doors, and garage doors to minimize damage from high winds and debris.
- Consider purchasing a portable generator for use during prolonged power outages. Remember to use these at least 20 feet away from windows and doors – being too close to the house could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Consider building a FEMA approved safe room or storm shelter to protect against high winds and possible flooding.
Take a Proactive Approach
When it comes to hurricane preparedness, a preventive approach is the best one. Take care to prepare your home’s exterior in the event of a tropical storm or actual hurricane by reinforcing and taking care of damaged limbs. In the event of a storm, tie down all loose furniture and keep to your hurricane preparedness plan. With a little foresight, you can safely enjoy the rest of the hurricane season and all the Gulf Coast has to offer.