Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hurricane Safety: pre-storm

In light of Hurricane Sandy, it would be a good idea to review basic hurricane safety. Hurricanes are extremely violent storms that can cause life threatening injuries and damage to property. The key to minimizing these effects is to anticipate such conditions and prepare for them in advance. Of course, the most advance preparation you could make comes long before the onset of any hurricane, in the form of insurance. It's key to mention this here because not all hurricane-incurred damage is covered by basic home insurance. It's important to get in touch with your agent to learn what you are and are not covered for, and how you can purchase additional coverage if you are in an area susceptible to hurricanes. That said, once insurance has been taken care of, follow these tips to help you best prepare for a hurricane.

Staying connected with your community and keeping on top of weather reports is the most effective way to do this. This way, you will be alerted to hurricane watches and hurricane warnings without delay. The difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning is simply in the time anticipated for the hurricane to arrive. For a hurricane watch, this is a time frame of 48 hours; for a hurricane warning, 36 hours.

Make it a habit to check weather reports daily from a reliable source, like environment Canada, in addition to a radio station that gives frequent updates as the weather changes. This is key because hurricanes move so quickly that they cannot be anticipated very far in advance. You don't want to miss out on preparation time simply because of a delay in learning of a hurricane's approach.
Next, you will want to stock your home with supplies for several days. We'll look at what supplies you should have on hand in our next post. It's worth mentioning, though, that while you're out picking up your provisions, you should make sure to come home with a full tank of gas.

Once you get back home, remove any loose items that the wind could pick up from your yard and secure them in a sheltered area. This can help prevent these items from becoming damaged, and from causing damage as well when they are hurled at high speeds against your property.

As understandable as it is that you don't want to leave your home in a time of crisis, be prepared to evacuate if this is what your authorities advise. Listen to the radio, stay in touch with others in the area, and try and learn of evacuation advisories as soon as you can. If you have been advised to evacuate, have a household plan that includes which members of your family will be responsible for what portions of the evacuation, what you will take with you, and where you will head to. Reviewing and rehearsing these plans long before the need arises can minimize the panic of actually carrying them out when the time comes.