Tips to Stay Safe Before, During, and After a Hurricane or Windstorm
Spring has arrived, which means it’s that time of year for potentially life-changing weather events. Deadly tornadoes have already sprung up throughout the South and have migrated into the Northeast. High winds and dry conditions across the Southwest and southern and central Plains have already caused dozens of wildfires, endangering the lives of countless families and putting their homes, farms, and ranches at risk.
Spring also brings the arrival of hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, and promises to be a busy one. AccuWeather forecasters have predicted 16-20 named tropical systems during the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, with six to eight hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes of at least Category 3.
You certainly can’t know if you and your family will be personally affected by a hurricane, windstorm, or other significant weather events. Still, you can prepare for them and take steps to protect your family, home, and possessions.
Kelly Klee offers some tips to prepare for a hurricane or windstorm, make it safely through the storm, and navigate the aftermath.
Preparing For a Hurricane or Windstorm
- Assemble an emergency supply kit to sustain you and your family for at least 72 hours. In your kit, include flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing, and toiletries. Replace or refresh items in your kit every six months.
- Stay informed about approaching storms by monitoring NOAA Weather radio or local television and radio stations for updates and evacuations.
- Know and follow your community’s disaster preparedness plan and evacuation route. Choose a location for all family members to meet after a storm in case of separation—plan for your pets’ safety and evacuation, as well.
- Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and charge your cell phone (bring the phone’s charger with you if you evacuate).
- Keep essential documents – legal papers, birth certificates, financial papers, insurance policies, etc. – in a safety deposit box or a bolted safe in an interior closet of your home.
- Trim large trees and shrubs. Bring outside patio and lawn furniture indoors, and secure all awnings and any other loose items that may become projectiles in high winds.
- If you’re a collector, make a list of all artworks or objects in your collection. Take photos of the collection, and make notes of any existing damage and the condition of frames and bases.
- Keep a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy with you in a waterproof container.
Staying Safe During a Hurricane or Windstorm
- Monitor NOAA Weather and local media for severe weather updates.
- Turn off utilities and evacuate when requested by authorities.
- Identify a “shelter room” in your home. It should be an interior room on the first floor or in the basement of your home and should have no windows. During the storm, avoid all windows and doors.
- Unplug appliances during the storm, and store personal electronic devices like laptops and pads in cabinets or interior closets.
- If you’re outdoors, avoid driving on coastal or low-lying roads. Use extreme caution when crossing water-covered roadways, especially if the water is moving.
- Stay away from fallen power lines. If your automobile is hit by one, stay in the vehicle. If you must leave the vehicle, jump out and off with both feet, so you are completely clear of the vehicle before you touch the ground.
After the Hurricane or Windstorm Passes
- Beware of loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the proper authorities.
- Use your bottled water or boil any water before drinking until public officials have notified the public that the water is safe.
- If your home has sustained damage, prevent further damage by covering the roof with tarps and windows with plywood, if possible – and only when it’s safe to do so.
- Be extra cautious when driving. Pay attention to any post-storm changes, such as missing stop/yield signs or broken traffic lights. Also, look for debris on the road, fallen utility lines, and other hazards.
If you are a policyholder with Kelly Klee, you’re family – and we’re here for you if you’re ever impacted by a hurricane, tornado, windstorm, wildfire, or any other catastrophic event. You always have access to a dedicated coverage concierge and a 24/7/365 hotline. We’ll be there when you need us.