Tropical Storm Don – Get Prepared Now!
It looks as though Tropical Storm Don is heading toward Texas. This is the first tropical storm we have had this year – are you prepared? Here is a quick reference sheet to help you! Before a Hurricane
- Know where you will go if you have to evacuate.
- Plan your evacuation route.
Contact the local emergency management office or other disaster preparedness organization, and ask for the community hurricane preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest evacuation route and nearby shelters. This information can also be obtained by visiting your county, parish web page.
Have disaster supplies on hand in the event of a storm, or if you have to evacuate: Flashlight and extra batteries Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries First Aid Kit Food (non-perishable) and water (one gallon of water per person per day) Non-electric can opener Essential medicines Baby supplies (diapers, non-perishable milk, baby food) If you are ordered to evacuate, you should also take: Personal items, such as toilet paper, toothbrush, towel, tampons, soap Books, small games and other small entertainment items Important papers and valuables in a waterproof container Names and addresses of relatives, friends and other important contacts Clothing and bedding Cash and credit cards Sturdy shoes
Make arrangements for pets Pets may not be allowed into emergency shelters for health and space reasons. Contact your local humane society for information on local animal shelters.
Make plans for your boat Decide what to do with your boat if a storm hits. Choices include taking it out of the path of danger, securing it on a trailer and leaving it parked in a safe area, securing it in a marina or mooring it in a “safe” harbor. If you decide to leave the Keys with your boat, make sure to leave early because after the advent of storm force winds, trailers will no longer be allowed on the highway.
Protect valuable documents and property, including: Birth certificates Marriage certificates Social security cards Passports Immunization records Bank account and credit card numbers Photos/video of your home and valuable property Vehicle titles Military service papers Wills Insurance policies, including personal, homeowners and disaster insurance Deeds Stocks Bonds Irreplaceable photos Computer back up of important electronic data Jewelry Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a hurricane. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water. Make sure that you also teach children how and when to call 911, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
Protect your windows Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood–marine plywood is best–cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm. Don’t forget to also trim back dead or weak branches from trees. Trim coconuts from palms so they don’t become deadly missiles during a storm.
Check into disaster insurance If you do not already have flood and windstorm insurance, you should consider getting it. Remember: Windstorm insurance policies are not sold when a storm threatens, so think far enough ahead. You can find out about the National Flood Insurance Program through your local insurance agent or emergency management office. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. Homeowners polices do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.
Develop an emergency communication plan In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Take pictures of your house and property Take photos and/or video of your house, it’s contents and the surrounding property. This will make it easier to prove loss to your insurance company following landfall. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 281-998-2500. Be safe!