Preparing for a Hurricane: Home, Family, and Pets

June 1, 2012 | Tower Hill Insurance

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Here’s a quick guide to what you can do to ready your home, family, and pets for storm season.

Your Home

Hurricane shutters are a critical part of preparing your home for hurricane season, but there is much more to consider. Before storm season you should inspect the roof for missing tiles or shingles, clean out gutters and rainspouts, and remove dead tree limbs from your yard.

Hurricane Shutters

Overwhelmed by choosing which hurricane shutters are best for your home? There are several options to choose from, based on your home’s design and budget. The following articles compare the different types of shutters, their advantages/disadvantages, and associated costs:

» Sun Sentinel’s Hurricane Shutter Guide

» This Old House’s Hurricane Safety Lessons Learned from Past Storms

» If you are a Do It Yourselfer, check out this how-to video on installing hurricane shutters from the Federal Alliance of Safe Homes (FLASH).

Updating your home inventory, reviewing your homeowners policy coverages with your insurance agent, developing your family’s disaster plan, and building a hurricane kit should all be done before storm season.

Your Family

Involving all the family members, especially kids, in planning for hurricane season can help make it less daunting. Its important to explain to the youngest family members what to expect in case of power outages and strong winds, without making them feel afraid. The Great Hurricane Blowout includes several family projects, designed especially for kids.

Home Hurricane Kit

The entire family can help with this quick checklist to prepare your home for hurricane season: check trees for dead limbs, count windows/doors, make a list of outside items (toys, patio furniture) to secure before a storm, and more. In 30 minutes or less, your family team can complete this project.

Build an Emergency Kit

When you have a few hours to plan, shop and build your hurricane kit, start with this supply list then customize it for your family’s needs. In a waterproof container, be sure to include copies of important documents and identification — home, flood, car and health insurance policies, drivers licenses, passports — and contact information for credit card companies, relatives, etc.

Prescription medication and a first aid kit should be included with your emergency supplies, such as non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, and paper goods.

Does anyone in the family have a competitive streak or creative flair? If so, . . . why not build a kit, then bling it! Post a photo of your family’s kit with bling on the Great Hurricane Blowout’s Facebook page or Tower Hill’s Facebook page.

..And Your Pets!

Your pets need an emergency kit, too. When deciding on your family’s disaster plan ahead of time, be sure to consider where your pets will be safe if you need to evacuate. Remember, most evacuation shelters do not accept pets. Your pet will need the following:

  • Portable carrier
  • Pet food and water
  • Medications (prescriptions, flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, etc.)
  • Current vaccination records
  • Toys, treats, and clean up supplies
  • Extra leash and collar with ID tag

In case you and your pet become separated, be sure to keep a recent picture of you and your pet along with health/vaccination records. FEMA’s website includes a brochure and video with tips for preparing your pets for an emergency.