Hurricanes, again? Yes, it’s that time of year.

Hurricane preparation isn’t a new subject; in fact the Coast Guard has been harping about it for centuries. It’s not something to scoff at or dismiss; they aren’t spectacles to challenge. Sometimes hurricanes pass through with little to no damage, and then there are those that create extremely hazardous conditions, chaos, destruction and or death.

Did you know that on average, 12 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico between June 1 through November 30 each year? In a typical two-year period, the U.S. is struck by an average of three hurricanes, one of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater).

What does the Coast Guard have to do with weather? When hurricanes, big or small, hit, they most often affect a coastal area causing flooding leaving people stranded or in danger. With the state, National Guard and other agencies, the Coast Guard will also be there assisting in evacuations and rescues.

The Coast Guard works alongside the National Weather Service to provide useful information in how to recognize hurricane hazards, what to do to prepare, what to do during a hurricane and what to do after a hurricane. Sharing this information may help save someone’s life in the future.

Determine Your Risk
Find out what types of winds and water hazards could happen where you live, and then start preparing now for how to handle them. Hurricane impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland and is easy to forget what they’re capable of. Hurricanes like Ike, Sandy and Isaac remind us that significant impacts can occur without it being a major hurricane.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Evacuation Plan
Make sure you have a hurricane evacuation plan. Figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Assemble Disaster Supplies
If a hurricane strikes, you’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm, but for the potentially lengthy recovery period that could follow. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of one week. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. You’ll also need a portable, crank or solar powered USB charger to charge your cell phones.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Get an Insurance Checkup
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat. Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for flooding. It’s available through your company, agent or use the agents located at www.floodsmart.gov. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Strengthen your home
If you plan to ride out a hurricane in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand high winds. However, heed the advice of authorities if you are told to evacuate.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Help your neighbor
Many people rely on the assistance of neighbors before and after hurricanes. Help your neighbors collect the supplies they’ll need before the storm. Assist them with evacuation if ordered to do so or check on them after it’s safe for you to head outside.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Complete your written plan
Prepare for a hurricane before the season begins, when you have the time and are not under pressure. If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep, the odds are that you will be under duress and will make the wrong decisions. Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. You don’t want to be standing in long lines when a Hurricane Watch is issued. Those supplies that you need will probably be sold out by the time you reach the front of the line. Being prepared, before a hurricane threatens, makes you resilient to the hurricane impacts of wind and water. It will mean the difference between your being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Click here for more hurricane preparation information.

 

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