Are you ready for peak hurricane season?

Are you ready for peak hurricane season?
August 22 18:44 2016 Print This Article

While hurricane season officially begins on June 1, the peak months for hurricanes and tropical storms are August, September and October. While Hurricane Preparedness Week was scheduled back it May, it is not too late to prepare for potential 2016 storms.

The Charleston area last experienced the direct impact of a hurricane in 1989 with Hugo, which caused billions in property damage and weeks of power outages for most residents. Our area experienced a close call 10 years later as an evacuation was ordered for Hurricane Floyd, when tens of thousands were stuck in traffic on I-26.

The first action to take is to call your homeowners insurance provider about flood insurance coverage. There is currently a 30 day waiting period before the flooding policy takes effect. You can learn more about flood insurance at floodsmart.gov.

Next on the readiness checklist is strengthening your home. Contact an arborist or tree-trimming service to remove limbs that may land on your roof. It is wise to get several estimates. Upgrading doors and windows protects your home against storm winds and flying debris. Hurricane shutters provide an extra level of protection. A good source for home reinforcement measures is FloridaDisaster.org.

Stock up your home emergency kit. Plan on having a one-week supply of water and non-perishable food on hand. Refill prescriptions and stock up on over-the-counter medicines if a hurricane is tracking toward our area. If our area is damaged by a storm, doctors offices may be closed for weeks. The emergency kit should also contain flashlights, radios, batteries and a portable cell phone charger.

Develop an evacuation plan. Contact family or friends who live more than 50 miles inland well in advance of the storm to make temporary living arrangements. If that is not possible, book hotel rooms well in advance. If you have pets, find out if pets are allowed at your evacuation destination and pack pet supplies. Exchange information with your neighbors about evacuation plans. Also inform your employer or supervisor about your evacuation plans.

Whether you choose to evacuate or not, put your perishable food in coolers or dispose of it in dumpsters. Remove any loose items from your yard so they don’t penetrate your windows. Assist elderly neighbors in clearing their yards. Fill up your cars and move them into the garage if you are not evacuating. Also, stock up on cash at your bank or ATM well before the storm arrives.

Keep in mind that the decision to evacuate is yours. You don’t need to wait on the Governor to order evacuation. Be prepared, and keep your family and pets safe during hurricane emergencies.