As hurricane season is officially upon us (June 1st-November 30th), Clarence Lee, our Vice President of Catastrophe Operations & Property Claims, shares 10 tips to help insureds stay prepared.
1. Check your food and water supply – Bottled water and dry packaged non-perishable foods are the best in case your power goes out, and your food spoils. You do not want to be stuck in a storm, in the dark, with nothing to eat or drink.
2. Make as much ice as possible – If in the event that the power goes out for an extended period of time, make sure that you have
made as much ice as possible in order to keep your food cool and frozen. If the power does go out place all perishable foods in the freezer to make them last longer. Having a large cooler handy could also be helpful.
3. Check your flashlights – Make sure they all work, and if they don’t, go stock up on batteries. Also, gather any candles, matches, and lighters. A BATTERY POWERED RADIO could end up saving your life in the event of a flash flood.
4. Make sure that your cellphone is charged – Whenever there is a threat of a power outage always make sure that your phone is charged in case you need to place an emergency phone call. Have a car charger handy as well. TIP – Even if the power goes out, land lines will still sometimes work. Phone lines run on their own electricity, as long as they are not cordless phones. You can check this beforehand by unplugging the electricity to you phone and testing it out.
5. Purchase a power inverter or generator – Generators are expensive. Power inverters are much cheaper at 20 – 25 dollars, and most of them plug into the lighter socket of a car. That way, if your car is running, you can run a cord from the inverter to your fridge or even a lamp. Also, inverters are available in many places.
6. Reinforce your entryways – High gusts of wind and floating debris can easily break windows, leaving you with a face full of glass and soaking wet. Make sure you reinforce doors, windows, garage doors, skylights, and fireplace flues. At least close the curtains or blinds, but if you can, reinforce the windows with plywood. It’s cheap and easy to cut. And totally worth it.
7. Have cash on hand – Debit cards are absolutely useless when there isn’t any power. ATMs don’t work, and you won’t be able to buy anything at the store. Make a trip to the ATM before the storm. Make purchases beforehand as well, since most businesses will be closed.
8. Have your stuff ready to go – If for whatever reason you need to leave in a hurry, make sure you’re prepared. Place all your important things in or around one bag. Wallet, cash, cell phone and charger, car keys, important documents and phone numbers, MEDICATIONS, first aid kit, etc. Keep these sealed in a leak proof bag or at least a ziplock. Make sure you know where you’re headed, take you pets with you, and always make sure your car is gassed up and ready to go if need be.
9. Unplug and move electronics – With hurricanes and heavy rains comes lighting and flooding. Power surges can occur which can damage electronics such as computers (and cause data loss) and TVs. Make sure these are unplugged, and if possible, moved to the highest point in your house in case of flooding. You can also move other items that can get damaged in water, important papers, pictures, or furniture. You can never be too prepared.
10. Prepare your family – Make sure each family member is aware of how dangerous a hurricane can be. If in the event your family needs to evacuate, you don’t want anyone left behind or uninformed. Keep cell phones on and stay home with your family.
Additional Tips for Before, During, and After the Storm
Before The Storm
- Be ready to put your plan and preparation into action.
- Pay attention to local weather reports on radio, television, or the internet.
- Have house boarded up, or have storm shutters in place.
- Have plenty of food and water.
- Make sure all your tools, supplies, and first aid kit available for use.
- Have a secure room available.
- Enter the season prepared.
- Know all evacuation routes if you live close to the coast.
- Make sure your home meets building codes for withstanding hurricanes, and they have storm shutters.
- Have proper tools, supplies, and a first aid kit.
- Have plenty of batteries and flashlights.
- Always have plenty of non-perishable foods on hand.
When A Watch or Warning is Issued
- Leave low lying areas.
- Protect windows with plywood boards, or storm shutters.
- Secure outside objects.
- Make sure you have plenty of fuel and water.
- Have several days supply of food and water for each family member.
- If called to evacuate, do so immediately.
During the Storm
- Stay in a secure room.
- Stay away from windows.
- Do not use the phone or candles.
- Monitor Weather and Civil Service Bulletins on either regular or NOAA radio.
- Have supplies on hand.
- Remain indoors when the eye moves over your area because the storm will resume shortly.
After The Storm
- Make sure that all is definitely clear outside, and the storm has completely passed before going out.
- Report downed power lines, and stay away from them.
- Use stored water and food.
- Be patient. Things will take a while before they get back to normal.
This blog post was written by Seibels Vice President of CAT Operations & Property Claims, Clarence Lee. To learn more about Seibels catastrophe services and claims solutions, contact us at or call 877.734.2357.