Tips Tuesday: How to Keep Your Family Safe in a Hurricane

This spring was uncommonly stormy for most of the Midwest and South, with disastrous and often tragic results. With the expectation that Hurricane Irene, which is currently gathering steam offshore, will hit at least some part of the East Coast, here are a few tips that can help consumers prepare for—and ride out—a storm.

  • Prepare a disaster supplies kit. Disasters often occur with little warning, and being prepared in advance can alleviate a lot of stress. Prepare for power outages by stocking up on such necessities as food and bottled water, as well as a first aid kit, a portable radio, warm clothing and clean blankets. In addition, keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy.
  • Develop an evacuation plan. Decide in advance where to go if you need to evacuate your home. You might choose a friend’s home, a motel or a shelter. Also, if possible, identify a safe evacuation route—and alternate routes. Remember that roads may be crowded and that bridges or causeways may be under water.
  • Take action to protect your property. There are a number of actions you can take to ensure that, in the event of a natural disaster, damage to your property can be mitigated or avoided altogether. There are also resources available, including www.fema.gov and www.redcross.org.
  • Take action to properly insure your property. In addition to making home improvements, make sure your property is adequately insured in the event of a loss, by having a quick conversation with a trusted insurance professional.
  • Consider flood insurance. Flooding is not covered under the standard homeowners’ policy, although coverage is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased for a home or business, to cover both building and contents, subject to policy limitations.
  • Assemble and secure important documents. Make sure you keep important documents, such as social security numbers, birth certificates and insurance information in a safe, dry place. Also, consider making an inventory of your home contents. This is a step that’s often overlooked, but can be invaluable if you need to file an insurance claim.

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