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Being in the midst of hurricane season, we’ve been sharing tips to help keep your community safe, prepared, and informed. From having the correct insurance to prepping your house against wind and flood damage, it’s important to take steps now, when there isn’t a forecasted storm, to ensure everyone is ready when one does form. Here are some things homeowners can do ahead of time to prevent a last-minute scramble.

Create an Evacuation Plan

According to AccuWeather, “the main reason people have to evacuate during hurricanes is from a storm surge, which is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds that can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastlines.”

It’s critical to determine if your community lies in an evacuation area, or an area in which residents are required to leave their home during a hurricane. If your community does lie in an evacuation zone, you need to ensure each and every resident knows this and has an evacuation plan in place. Encourage residents to plan where they’ll go during a storm, and even test the route on a day with good weather. The normal route will likely be congested or even closed during an evacuation, so it’s important for residents to know alternative routes ahead of time when they’re not facing the added anxiety of an approaching storm.

Keep Important Documents Safe

A few weeks ago, we shared tips to help residents organize key documents before a storm. It’s vital that residents know where vital documents are, such as insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and so on. The originals should be safely stored in a water and fireproof safe, and copies should be easily accessible. It’s recommended that residents keep these copies in waterproof containers in case they face flooding inside their home.

Purchase Food and Water Ahead of Time

One of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting to purchase food and water right before the storm. Grocery stores quickly run out of items like water, bread, and non-perishable foods, and the lines can be long and stressful. That’s why it’s recommended to keep stock of bottled water and non-perishable food. Make sure to have enough water on hand for one gallon per person per day for at least five days. As for non-perishable food, try to keep enough on hand for three days and purchase items like:

  • Cereal
  • Canned goods
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Granola and energy bars

Compile a Hurricane Kit

There are certain items you’ll want to have on hand if you’re riding out a storm in the safety of your home. That’s why it’s recommended for those living in hurricane areas to have a preassembled hurricane kit. Items should include:

  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Basic tool kit
  • Sanitation products
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Garbage bags
  • Waterproof matches and lighter
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery powered radio
  • First aid kit
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Rain gear

Don’t Forget About Your Pets

When creating your hurricane preparedness plan, it’s important to keep your furry family members in mind. Be sure to add items like pet food and extra water to your hurricane kit. The Humane Society provides excellent tips on what you can do to create a pet-friendly disaster kit. Don’t forget to take pets into consideration when creating your evacuation plan. If there’s no way your pets will fit in your car during an evacuation, look up shelters ahead of time that house animals during storms. This will ensure your pets stay safe, and don’t up becoming yet another stray after a big storm.

Speaking of being prepared, does your community have an incident response plan in place? Download our free guide to help create one today!