Hurricane season in upon us

Hurricane season in upon us
June 01 16:07 2019 Print This Article

Atlantic hurricane season officially begins today. While the peak months for hurricanes are August and September, June is a great time to develop your plans for a storm which may come later. The damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Tropical Storm Irma in 2017 is still fresh in people’s minds.

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.

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, doctor’s 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.  Veterinarians usually have a list of pet-friendly hotels within the evacuation routes.  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.

The state of South Carolina offers tax credits for catastrophe savings accounts, which can be used to pay for expenses not covered by insurance policies and also to put toward deductibles. There are also state tax credits available for retrofits such as storm shutters which make homes more storm-resistant.

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.