Lessons from a hurricane survivor

Over the past couple of years, you have probably received several emails from us regarding how to prepare for an extreme weather event. And what to do – and what not to do – during that event, as well as in its aftermath.

We believe we’ve provided you with plenty of sound advice, and I hope some of it has been useful to you regardless of whether you were facing a hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, wind storm or something else that threatened to cause a blackout.

Today I want to provide you with suggestions from someone who survived a hurricane. Here are 10 of his “lessons.”

  • Know your insurance policy. Figure out what is covered and what isn’t, which should help to reduce some of your costs and confusion. This also saves time when filing a claim, or contacting the insurance company.
  • Stock up on the right things. Determine in advance what you will need to hunker down and ride out a storm that could keep you indoors for several days, then acquire them as soon as possible. This goes beyond food. Also consider paper towels, tarps, buckets, anything that could help you prepare and ride out the storm.
  • Trim your trees before the storm hits. People have died during storms, including Hurricane Florence, because nearby trees fell on their homes.
  • Forecasts are not always accurate. Based on what you see on television, you may sometimes assume a storm will miss your area. But storm paths change, so be prepared.
  • Gas up and protect your vehicle. It is always difficult to purchase gasoline during and after a severe storm, so make sure your tank is as full as possible before it hits
  • Don’t flee too far. Getting out of harm’s way is smart, but be ready to return home as soon as possible to better protect your home and belongings.
  • Know your workplace policies. Just because a storm is coming doesn’t mean you will automatically have an excused absence. Find out in advance.
  • Don’t panic – learn to cope with boredom. You don’t know how long you might have to hunker down, so prepare games and hobbies that can be done without electricity.
  • Do some quick emergency repairs. When it’s safe to go outside again after the storm, start doing what you can to repair and protect your property and possessions.
  • Don’t be a fool – and you’ll live to tell about it. Don’t take chances, unless necessary to save yourself or someone else. Stay in a safe place until the danger has passed.

Good advice. Of course, you should also have an emergency radio so you can listen to reports before, during and after the storm. They can tell you the places to avoid and where shelter is available, in case you need that.

You should also have several evacuation routes mapped out in advance. And if you have a good idea of which direction you will head and how far you might be able to get, it wouldn’t hurt to make a hotel reservation, just in case.

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